How To Make An Italian Mafia Red Eye Espresso - Home Grounds

How To Make An Italian Mafia Red Eye Espresso

There’s a scene in the classic Hollywood movie Good Fellas, where Tommy DeVito (played by actor Joe Pesci) asks for a cup of coffee before he murders one of his mafia colleagues (does the mafia even call them colleagues?).

Once he does ‘the hit’, he says he wants the coffee to go.

It makes you wonder, what kind of coffee does the Italian mafia drink? If Hollywood movies are to be believed, it’s espresso – and make it a double, mugsy.

All joking aside (and seriously, Mafia people – we are just kidding!), have you ever thought about combining the taste of rich, silky espresso with the anise flavor-explosion that is Sambuca?

It’s a popular duo – and makes the Italian Mafia Red Eye espresso recipe definitely worth checking out. It’s like an offer you can’t refuse!

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What You’ll Need

This recipe serves one.


  • 1 ½  tablespoons chocolate syrup or crème de cacao liqueur
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Sambuca
  • 2 shots fresh, hot espresso (you could use strong coffee, but espresso is better)
  • Whipped cream
  • 1 maraschino cherry

How to Make an Italian Mafia Red Eye Espresso

A coffee drink with alcohol might be something that gives you pause about drinking early in the day, but, let’s be real here.

For those in Cosa Nostra (what the Mafia calls those ‘in the family'), that’s the least of your worries.

And besides, this is a drink that is going to perk you up. It’s good anytime of the day or night!

Step #1. Get Syrupy (or Crème-y)

Decide on whether to go alcoholic or non-alcoholic for the chocolate flavor of your drink, and pour either the chocolate syrup or crème de cacao into your mug.


The boozy version brings a depth of flavor that the chocolate syrup version does not.

Step #2. It’s Sambuca Time!

Sambuca is an interesting alcoholic beverage. And it is often enjoyed with coffee.

In fact, a basic combination of the two is called caffe corretto (although you can use other alcohol to make it as well, such as grappa).

There is clearly something magical about the combination of the anise flavor found in Sambuca, and the taste of coffee.

Pour the Sambuca into your mug.

Step #3. Espresso Yourself

As a member of the coffee tribe, you likely have a great espresso machine in your kitchen… if not, you can make espresso using a moka pot.

Want to learn more? Check this out.

Or, there are other ways to make espresso without an espresso machine. You can find them here.

Add the double espresso shot.

Step #4. Whip It Out

Whipped cream adds texture and taste to this drink.

And let’s face it, everyone who makes whipped cream looks forward to the taste tests before deciding it’s perfectly whipped.

While you can purchase whipped cream in a can at the grocery store, homemade is best.

Not sure how to make whipped cream? It’s simple. Check out how here.

Top your drink with a dollop or two of whipped cream.

Step #5. Drop the Cherry

While you can buy maraschino cherries in a grocery store, they are much better if you make them yourself.

MUCH better.

While it takes a bit of effort, it is absolutely worth it to do. Learn how to make them here.

Gently place the cherry on top of the whipped cream.


Drizzle some of the crème de cacao liqueur across the top of the whipped cream too.

Step #6. Go All Mafia On It

Sit back, put on a classic mafia flick like Good Fellas, Scarface, or The Godfather, and enjoy!  

Enjoy Your Italian Mafia Red Eye Espresso!

Think you’ve got what it takes to make an Italian mafia red eye espresso?

Maybe it’s time to throw a Mafia movie-inspired get-together and serve the red eye.

Let us know in the comments sections if you are going to make this – and when you do, what you think about it.

And if you know someone who would like this Sambuca espresso beverage, please share!

In the mood to try more unique recipes? Check these delicious Tropical Mocha and Flaming Spanish coffee.

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