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Cocktail Hour: Yes, You Can Use Instant Coffee to Make an Espresso Martini

Shake up your espresso martini game by switching out espresso for instant coffee

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By House & Garden South Africa | March 19, 2024 | Recipes

The espresso martini is one of those controversial cocktails that you either love, hate, or love to hate. Perhaps the meeting of espresso and vodka in a martini glass is the result of too many bartenders and baristas sitting in a room together. While the quintessential espresso martini combines a shot of freshly brewed espresso, a dash of coffee liqueur and a simple sugar syrup, this easy recipe uses a South African household staple: Instant coffee.

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on our cocktail-making skills in our Cocktail Hour series, and this instant coffee ‘espresso’ martini has become a go-to easy three easy recipe. Here’s how to make it:


120 ml vodka

120 ml coffee liqueur

160 ml cold instant coffee

30 ml sugar syrup (one part sugar, one-part hot water to make)

Lemon twists, to garnish


1. Add all of the ingredients to cocktail shaker and fill with crushed ice.

2. Shake well for at least 10 seconds to maximise froth.

3. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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