Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Tequila Espresso Martini

Agave and amaro shine in this variation from Bar Flores in Los Angeles.

Tequila Espresso Martini served in Nick and Nora glass with thick foam, garnished with three espresso beans and shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

At Bar Flores, in Los Angeles’s Echo Park neighborhood, owner Karla Flores-Mercado’s bar program takes an emphasis on agave spirits and applies it to a wide range of cocktails, both new and old. So when it came time to create an Espresso Martini for the menu, she naturally reached for tequila instead of the drink’s usual vodka. 

“We started getting a lot of calls for Espresso Martinis, and I was like, how can I make something tasty that still represents our brand?” says Flores-Mercado. 

Flores-Mercado found a balance that would appeal to the nature of the original cocktail while keeping in line with Bar Flores’s vision and offering guests something new. “The earthiness and saltiness of [tequila] blend really well with everything that you think of in an Espresso Martini, like coffee and chocolate,” she says. 

For the coffee component, Flores-Mercado uses a coffee concentrate from nearby Woodcat Coffee and Caffe Lolita Coffee Liqueur. This combination grounds the cocktail with a deep flavor profile that she likens to piloncillo—unrefined raw sugar that has burnt caramel notes. A small amount of Zucca Rabarbero Amaro rounds out the drink with rich chocolate and bitter orange notes, while lemon oils “brighten it up.” 

“Espresso Martinis are always delicious, but they run a little bit on the sweeter side,” says Flores-Mercado.  “[This] feels like a cocktail and less like a dessert.”

When mixing the drink, Flores-Mercado advises to go easy on the ice in the shaker. “Using less ice and giving it a lot of room for there to be a little bit of air in there is what’s going to give you that really gorgeous thick foam,” she says.


  • 1 ounce blanco tequila, preferably El Tesoro

  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur, preferably Caffe Lolita

  • 3/4 ounce coffee concentrate or cold brew concentrate

  • 1/4 ounce rich honey syrup (recipe follows)

  • 1/4 ounce Zucca Rabarbaro Amaro 

  • Lemon, for zesting

  • Garnish: 3 espresso beans


  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with 4 ice cubes.

  2. Shake vigorously, 15–20 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Double-strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled Nick and Nora glass.

  4. Zest a lemon over the cocktail, then discard.

  5. Garnish with 3 espresso beans.

  6. To make rich honey syrup: Add 1 cup honey and 1/2 cup water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the honey is fully dissolved. Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

Tequila Espresso Martini Variations and Substitutions

Flores-Mercado uses Caffe Lolita Coffee Liqueur, which is imported from Mexico, but she says you can substitute in another coffee liqueur like Mr Black. You can also easily swap in another amaro to play with the flavor profile of the drink. Some of her recommendations include Montenegro, Averna, and even Fernet-Branca, which will add its distinct menthol flavor and bitterness to the drink.

What Is Rich Honey Syrup?

A standard honey syrup uses a 1:1 ratio of honey to water. A rich honey syrup simply increases the ratio of honey to water to 2:1. You can use honey syrup in a wide range of cocktails, including the Gold Rush and Bee’s Knees.