Espresso Margarita Recipe: Ultimate Summer Brunch Cocktail!
Want to delight your guests with an unusual brunch cocktail? Consider the espresso margarita, which adds espresso and Kahlua to the original for a delicious variation.
The espresso margarita is a wonderfully balanced drink – combining sweet, salty, bitter, and sour flavours in a way that makes it hard to stop sipping. Plus, the addition of coffee makes it morning appropriate!
It’s a snap to make with this coffee margarita recipe. So let’s get started.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 30 ml espresso or strong brewed coffee
- 45 ml Tequila
- 20 ml orange liqueur, like Triple Sec
- 15 ml coffee liqueur, like Kahlua
- One lime
- Ice cubes
- Sugar and salt to rim glass
- Dash of Angostura bitters, optional
- 1 tsp orange blossom water, optional
- Cocktail shaker or Mason jar
AT A GLANCE
One 175 ml drink
Choosing The Best Ingredients For Your Espresso Margarita
This Espresso Margarita has an uncomplicated ingredients list with plenty of possible substitutions, so it should be easy to track down everything you need. Start with good tequila, and you’re most of the way there.
Splurge On Tequila
Tequila is the dominant player in this drink, so splurge on the good stuff. Tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant native to central Mexico. By law, a tequila must be at least 51% blue agave, but the best brands are 100% (1).
There are five classes of tequila, divided by the time it ages in wood casks: blanco, joven, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo. You can use any high-quality tequila in this recipe, but we’re fans of the reposado tequila, aged between 2 months and a year. It takes on the wood’s smoky tones while maintaining the agave’s bright sweetness.
This recipe features coffee and orange liqueurs, and you can use any available brand of either.
- Triple Sec is the traditional orange liqueur choice for a margarita, but feel free to substitute Cointreau – or even Grand Marnier if you’re a big spender.
- Kahlua is an affordable and widely available coffee liqueur, but you can replace it with Tia Maria or a cold brew coffee liqueur.
Espresso Or Coffee?
You can use espresso or strong brewed coffee in this cocktail. If you have an espresso machine or espresso maker, we recommend espresso for a stronger coffee flavour. However, 30 ml of strong coffee brewed using a French press, Aeropress, or Moka pot – or even 30 ml of cold brew concentrate – can be substituted.
Classic medium roast coffee beans are our favourite for this recipe. South or Central American coffees tend to have taste profiles featuring nuts, caramel, milk chocolate, and ripe fruit that work well in this cocktail. For an evening drink, consider decaf coffee, and drink responsibly.
How To Make An Espresso Margarita
Putting alcohol in coffee drinks is rarely a bad idea, nor is it complicated. It only takes three steps to make and serve this cocktail, and you can always skip the sugar rim if you’re in a hurry.
Step 1: Prepare The Sugar Rim
Combine equal parts table salt and granulated white sugar in a wide dish.
Slice the lime in half, setting half aside for the drink. Slice the remaining half in half again to yield two quarters. Rub a quarter of the lime around the rim of a 175 ml lowball or martini glass. Invert the glass into the sugar-and-salt mix and twist it to make the sugar rim.
Pro tip: We love this sweet-salty-sour version of the rim, but you can use 100% sugar, 100% salt, or any ratio in between to suit your taste.
Step 2: Combine The Ingredients
Pop the espresso or coffee in the fridge to cool to room temperature if it is freshly brewed. This shouldn’t take long for 30 ml of liquid.
Juice the remaining half lime to yield approximately 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of fresh lime juice.
Add the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, coffee liqueur, and espresso to a cocktail shaker or Mason jar along with 4 ice cubes. You can add an optional dash of Angostura bitters or a teaspoon of orange blossom water for a more nuanced flavour.
Shake for one minute until the ingredients are frothy, well mixed, and chilled.
Pro tip: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of simple syrup to taste for a sweeter coffee margarita. Simple syrup is prepared by warming equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Toss a vanilla bean into the pot for a subtle vanilla flavour.
Step 3: Garnish And Serve
Strain the coffee margarita into the prepared glass. You can serve it straight up or strain it over a few fresh ice cubes in the glass.
Garnish by slotting a thin slice of the remaining lime quarter over the rim.
Pro tip: You can make a blended margarita by straining the ingredients directly into your blender and add ice. Blend until you get a slushy consistency, and serve in a chilled glass.
If you love coffee, the espresso margarita is a tasty and balanced drink that can be enjoyed any time of day or year. But it hits the spot on a steamy summer morning. It’s the perfect pairing for fresh fruit, and crisp croissants served al fresco.
An espresso martini is a coffee cocktail that combines vodka, Kahlua and espresso. The espresso martini was popular in the 1980s and is experiencing a renaissance among coffee lovers (2). You can also make a coffee martini using cold brew concentrate.
Yes, the coffee margarita is vegan, but you need to check the ingredients’ labels. For example, Tia Maria is vegan, but Kahlua is not (3). Certain brands of Tequila, like Tres Agaves, are also not vegan-friendly.
An espresso shot with alcohol is called a caffè corretto when you’re referring to the authentic Italian preparation. This cocktail pairs a shot of espresso with a dash of liquor, usually grappa, sambuca, or brandy.
- Hughes, A. (2022, February 25). A Guide to the 5 Different Types of Tequila (and Cristalino). Retrieved from https://vinepair.com/articles/guide-5-different-types-tequila/
- Grief, A. (2022, April 7). Why The Espresso Martini Is Making A Comeback. Retrieved from https://chatelaine.com/food/drinks/espresso-martini/
- Kahlua. (2023). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from https://www.kahlua.com/en-ca/faq/