Holiday Spice Espresso Martini

This holiday spin on a classic espresso martini might be just my new favorite cocktail! I use a homemade spiced simple syrup, flavored with cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and fresh ginger, to give the drink great depth and subtle spiced flavor.  A splash of half & half makes the drink frothy and creamy without being too heavy, and a final sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg and cloves gives it the most incredible fragrant aroma. It’s Christmas in a glass – a martini glass!!

While you can use freshly brewed espresso for this recipe, I prefer using cold brew concentrate, which is available in most large grocery stores. (I recommend the Chameleon brand.)  It’s less bitter than espresso, and makes this drink incredibly easy to make, especially if you, like me, don’t have an espresso machine !

For a more coffee-forward cocktail, use 1/2 ounce syrup, or, for a slightly sweeter drink, use 1 ounce. However you make it, this festive cocktail is the perfect way to kickoff the holiday season!!

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Holiday Spice Espresso Martini

Servings: 1


For the spiced simple syrup:

  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks, depending on size
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves

For the cocktail:

  • Ice, for shaking
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
  • ounces cold brew concentrate, such as Chameleon
  • 1/2 ounce half & half
  • Coffee beans or whole cloves, for serving
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving


  • First, make the simple syrup. Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, ginger and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool completely, then strain.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker 1/2 full with ice. Add the vodka, cold brew concentrate, 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup, and half & half. Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 to 30 seconds. Strain into a martini or coupe glass.
  • Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, along with three whole coffee beans or cloves, and serve immediately.
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