Skip the latte and enjoy your favorite fall flavor with this pumpkin spice espresso martini! Espresso, vodka, Kahlua and a homemade pumpkin spice syrup come together to make a caffeinated cocktail that’s perfect for sipping after Thanksgiving dinner with your favorite slice of pie. This is the perfect signature fall cocktail for pumpkin and coffee lovers alike.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Full of everyone’s favorite pumpkin spice in every sip.
- Gives off an elegant vibe but is super simple to make.
- Makes for the perfect after-dinner drink for any cozy night or fall occasion, especially Thanksgiving.
Vodka: I recommend using a mid- or high-range vodka. Cheap vodka is just so harsh. For some inspiration, take a look at these best vodkas for cocktails.
Espresso: While I recommend espresso for the richest, most robust flavor with that signature creamy foam, you can substitute it for a strong coffee or cold brew if need be.
Pumpkin spice simple syrup: We use my homemade pumpkin syrup recipe here to put a fall twist on a classic espresso martini. I’ll review the steps for making it, but if you’d like a more detailed overview, check out my guide on how to make pumpkin spice syrup.
Kahlua: You can also use your favorite coffee liqueur if you prefer another brand. Homemade coffee liqueur works as well.
Make the Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup
Step 1: First, we need to make our pumpkin spice simple syrup. We start by bringing water, brown sugar, pumpkin purée and spices to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. After the mixture boils, we turn off the heat, stir in vanilla extract and allow the pumpkin pie spices to steep. Now we strain the syrup over a fine-mesh sieve, and our pumpkin syrup is ready (photos 1-4).
Shake the Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini
Step 1: To make the drink, we first brew espresso (photo 5).
Step 2: We add the fresh espresso, vodka, pumpkin spice simple syrup and Kahlua to a cocktail shaker and place it in the freezer for a few minutes to help cool the hot espresso (photo 6).
Step 3: Once the espresso has cooled, we add a handful of ice cubes, secure the top and shake vigorously (photo 7). I recommend shaking for at least 30 seconds to build that classic frothy topping.
Step 4: From here, we remove the cocktail shaker top and strain the drink into a martini glass (photo 8). A coupe glass works as well
Step 5: For the finishing touch, we place a few coffee beans in the center of the frothy top for a fun garnish like so (photo 9). If you'd like to get extra festive, you can also add cinnamon sticks and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to the drinks.
Now take a sip and enjoy those fall spices in that perfect pumpkin espresso martini. And if you’d like more pumpkin spice cocktails, you’ll also love this pumpkin old fashioned, pumpkin margarita and pumpkin punch.
Yes, you can make a batch of espresso martinis in a pitcher for easy entertaining. Simply stir together the ingredients without ice and store the pitcher covered in the refrigerator for a few hours.
When you’re ready to serve, pour two drinks at a time in a cocktail shaker and shake as originally directed. Even though we stir together the ingredients, we still want to shake the drink to give it the proper aeration and dilution. But, hey, all the measuring is done, so this really speeds up the mixing process.
I highly recommend preparing the homemade pumpkin spice syrup. Store-bought pumpkin syrup just isn’t as strongly flavored, and your cocktail is only as good as its ingredients.
As long as you keep the pumpkin spice simple syrup in a sterile, airtight container, it should keep for two to three weeks. You can also freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray.
You have so many options here. Besides making more pumpkin cocktails, you can use this syrup to make pumpkin spice lattes, pour on your pancakes, stir into oatmeal, spoon over ice cream or flavor your tea.
Variations and Substitutions
- Not a fan of vodka? Substitute it for dark rum, bourbon or reposado tequila for a different twist.
- Use vanilla vodka instead of regular vodka for extra decadence.
- Make it a mocktail by using a zero-proof vodka and skipping the coffee liqueur.
- Add ½ ounce heavy cream to make it a pumpkin spice latte martini.
- Create a sugared rim by running the rim of the glass in some extra pumpkin syrup and then swirling it in a mixture of sugar and espresso powder.
Plan ahead to allow time to chill the espresso: If we add the ice immediately to the espresso, too much ice will melt. About five minutes in the freezer gives it enough time to cool down, especially if you’re using cold vodka and simple syrup.
Chill your martini glasses: Simply place your serving glass in the freezer for anywhere from five to 30 minutes and you have a perfectly chilled martini glass ready for sipping.
Try a mason jar if you don’t have a cocktail shaker: While I definitely recommend investing in a cocktail shaker if you enjoy making drinks, a mason jar will also work. Just make sure the lid is solid and fits well.
Use the correct shaking technique: To get enough force behind the shake to create the foam topping, hold the cocktail shaker at an angle and shake with two hands.
Make sure you use real pumpkin purée to make the syrup: Don’t mistake this for pumpkin pie filling. The two are very different products.
Add a foaming ingredient if you swap strong coffee for espresso: Espresso foams up with a hard shake just fine, but you won’t get that same frothy topping with coffee. Instead, you can add a fresh egg white or 2 tablespoons aquafaba, which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. These ingredients may sound weird, but they’re flavorless and a typical addition any time you order a fancy cocktail with a foam topping.
Keep in mind, you’ll just want to follow a dry shake and wet shake technique. Essentially, you first shake the ingredients without ice for 30 seconds, and then you shake the ingredients for one minute with ice. For a more detailed explanation, see my Boston sour recipe.
Since this is the perfect cocktail for enjoying after dinner, we need a fall dessert to serve on the side. Naturally, anything with pumpkin will pair nicely, so try my maple pumpkin pie, pumpkin pound cake or caramel-stuffed pumpkin cupcakes. For something without spice, a slice of this buttermilk pie would be perfect.
With loads of coffee flavor and creamy texture, this pumpkin spice espresso martini recipe is just what you need for enjoying some serious fall vibes.
Get More Festive Fall Cocktails
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Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini
- Small saucepan
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Espresso machine
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini
- 2 ounces freshly brewed espresso
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce pumpkin spice simple syrup
- ½ ounce Kahlua or coffee liqueur
- Coffee beans for garnish, optional
Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup
- In a small saucepan, stir together the water, dark brown sugar, pumpkin purée, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring every so often to help dissolve the sugar.
- When the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Allow the mixture to steep for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve over a shallow bowl in the sink. Stir the mixture in the fine-mesh sieve to help separate the syrup from the pumpkin purée. Let the mixture cool completely and then store in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator. Shake before using.
Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini
- Pour the espresso, vodka, pumpkin spice simple syrup and Kahlua into a cocktail shaker. Place the cocktail shaker in the freezer and allow it to chill for five to 10 minutes.
- Remove the cocktail shaker from the freezer and add a handful of ice. Secure the top and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass.
- If desired, add coffee beans on top of the foamy surface to garnish. Enjoy!
- Store leftover pumpkin spice simple syrup in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.