Where to Find the Greatest Espresso Martinis in Boston
Caffeine and booze, together in one perfect drink.
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Whether you’re a brunch fanatic or you’re settling in for a summer full of kids making noise around the house, you might be looking for some caffeine to power you through the day—and maybe also some booze to temper the edge. Behold, 15 of Greater Boston’s greatest takes on the classic espresso martini—a foolproof way to get both kinds of buzzes in one excellent drink. There’s something for everyone on this list, from fairly traditional versions to modern spins.
This guide was most recently updated on June 5, 2023; watch for periodic updates.
Aceituna Grill (Newbury Street location)
Kalani coconut liqueur, from the Yucatán, “makes every other coconut anything you’ve ever tried taste fake, fake, fake,” as Nick Mallia previously told Boston. He crafted the drink list at Aceituna Grill’s newest location—which includes a cocktail bar, different from its fast-casual older siblings around town—as an ode to his friend Brother Cleve, the late Boston-based bartending legend. His knowledge of Cleve’s techniques and expertise have resulted in a creative selection of twists on classics, like the Arabica Nights, Mallia’s take on an espresso martini. That coconut liqueur combines with Grainger’s vanilla vodka, fresh-brewed espresso, espresso rum, chocolate bitters, and a house-made burnt sugar syrup for a concoction that’ll wake you up and pair deliciously with Mediterranean bar snacks like spicy chicken pita bites and a deconstructed Greek salad.
267 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, (857) 239-8973, aceitunagrill.com.
Boston Harbor Distillery
Sip local spirits on their own and in cocktails in a beautiful 1850s mill building, the former production site of everything from horseshoe nails to yachts to ice cream. Nearly a decade ago, Boston Harbor Distillery made its home in the historic space, and since then, it’s been busily producing whiskey, gin, rum, and more—not to mention an exemplary espresso martini, available at the cocktail bar or bottled for retail sales. Optionally, get it creamy and/or with a dash of heat from the distillery’s scorpion-pepper-infused Demon Seed Whiskey. (We like taking both of those options.)
12R Ericsson St., Dorchester, Boston, 617-533-7001, bostonharbordistillery.com.
Bricco Ristorante & Enoteca
Bricco’s espresso martini is a boozy Boston staple: This North End restaurant and bar says it has sold over a million servings of the drink over the years. The cocktail combines Absolut Vanilla vodka with Baileys, Kahlúa, Frangelico, and Disaronno, and the foamy top is smooth, thick, and flavorful. Add house-made espresso and a sugar-and-cocoa rim, and Bricco’s espresso martini keeps customers coming back for more. (Note: You can find the same cocktail at Bricco siblings Assaggio and Mare, also in the North End, and Fratelli at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett.)
241 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-248-6800, bricco.com.
“Here at Café Sauvage, we prefer our espresso in our martini,” says the team at this intimate Parisian café and restaurant in Back Bay. Indeed, the menu features three caffeinated cocktails. The Sauvage Espresso’tini starts with spiced rum, espresso liqueur, and Irish cream, and it gets an added boost from cold brew. Espresso martini lovers will also enjoy The Dude, inspired by The Big Lebowski: vanilla vodka, espresso liqueur, hazelnut liqueur, and milk, with a Nutella rim. And finally there’s the Endless Night, where La Colombe espresso meets vodka, amaretto, Ancho Reyes Verde, and chocolate bitters.
25 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 857-277-0075, cafesauvage.com.
Teleport to Italy and enjoy a scoop of house-made gelato with your martini at this family-owned North End sweet spot. No matter how much pasta you’ve treated yourself to for dinner elsewhere in the neighborhood, there’s always room for Paradiso’s espresso martini, made with Absolut, coffee liqueur, Bailey’s, and espresso. Try that, and then try the delightful pistachio martini, which comes topped with pistachio gelato.
255 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-742-1768.
Jaho Coffee Roaster & Wine Bar
Of course this small local chain of boozy cafes makes a killer espresso martini—and as long as Boston allows it, it’s available to go. Get it as is or with a dash of Bailey’s to add some creaminess. The Vietnamese coffee martini will also hit the spot. Find them—and lots of other caffeinated and/or alcoholic treats—at a handful of locations around Boston and Salem, with a Cambridge outpost coming soon.
Multiple locations, jaho.com.
If you’ve got it in your head that Jewish drinking revolves around the oh-so-grape-y Manischewitz wine—ok, well, there’s a good deal of that. But wait, there’s more! Head to exciting Somerville newcomer Lehrhaus—a “Jewish tavern and house of learning”—for bar star Naomi Levy’s intriguing cocktail program that toys with flavors of the Jewish diaspora, from a tequila-and-orange-blossom drink spiked with spicy s’chug to a take on a rum Old Fashioned inspired by a Moroccan Shabbat stew. As for the espresso martini? That one is a nod to Yemen, combining vodka and cold brew with the spice mix hawaij, a mix of cardamom, turmeric, and more that is most often found in Yemeni coffee and soups.
425 Washington St., Somerville, lehr.haus.
This tiny North End hot spot—which has a newer, more expansive sibling at Somerville’s Assembly Row—jokingly named its espresso martini “Voted Boston’s Best,” a wink to the neighborhood’s ubiquitous signage proclaiming “Boston’s best” this and “Boston’s best” that. But the name is warranted: It is one of the best around, featuring “dope chocolate liqueur,” “hazelnut love,” and “creamy goodness” with the requisite vodka and fresh espresso. Come for the espresso martini, but stay for Parla’s “Dungeon Master” cocktail program, where the roll of a 20-sided die gets you a mystery drink.
230 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-367-2824, parlaboston.com.
The Quiet Few
Whiskey and coffee lovers, rejoice. The Quiet Few—a self-described “neighborhood whiskey tavern” in East Boston with “no frills, couple of spills”—has been known to feature a whiskey-based version of an espresso martini in colder months. The cocktail, dubbed Coffee and Cigarettes, has a base of German rye whiskey, whose dark chocolate and coffee notes mix well with Galliano Ristretto (an espresso liqueur) and cold brew. It disappeared off the menu as warmer days rolled in—we’re hoping it comes back next winter—but in the meantime, go for the Bruce Chillis, a frozen espresso martini with Wheatley vodka, caffeine, “sunshine,” and an optional Aperol float. Whatever the season, the Quiet Few wants to keep you caffeinated and buzzy.
331 Sumner St., East Boston, 617-561-1061, thequietfew.com.
Silver Dove Afternoon Tea
“We’ve learned that you must have a spicy margarita and an espresso martini [on the menu]: not an option,” Silver Dove co-owner Lee Morgan told Boston in February 2023, when he opened the cozy afternoon tea spot with Patrick Brewster in downtown Boston. They use their cordials license in fun ways, featuring classic cocktails that make sense for light day-drinking alongside tea, scones, and bite-sized sandwiches and pastries. Their tasty espresso martini is made of vanilla vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur, with optional hazelnut cream (say yes.) It pairs particularly well with the opera cake, a rich treat featuring dark chocolate ganache and espresso buttercream.
24 Tremont St., Downtown Boston, 781-203-1223, silverdovetea.com.
This elegant Newbury Street classic has always boasted a see-and-be-seen vibe, and what better way to enjoy that than with a cocktail in hand? While the cocktail list focuses heavily on Negroni variations, don’t miss the rest, including a pretty traditional but especially well-made espresso martini with vanilla vodka, Baileys, Kahlúa, and espresso.
327 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-351-2500, sonsieboston.com.
First of all, you’re going to Source for the pizza, which is among the best in Greater Boston these days. The pepperoni, in particular—topped with caramelized red onions, vin cotto, and an almost impossible amount of ’roni cups—floats our boat. But settle in for a drink, too, in the supremely comfortable space, which has a sort of chic-barn vibe (we love the giant rooster mural.) In the espresso martini, the Faretti Biscotti liqueur is the secret weapon, adding a hint of fresh-baked cookie essence to the mix alongside Mad River vanilla rum, Mr. Black cold brew coffee liqueur, and Borghetti espresso liqueur.
27 Church St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 857-856-6800, sourcerestaurants.com.
Tradesman Coffee Shop and Lounge
Built for comfort, this classy yet cozy downtown café and bar—and its sibling in Charlestown—is particularly well-loved for its espresso martini (but don’t miss the over-the-top croissants during the day at the downtown location). It’s made with vanilla vodka, espresso, Kahlúa, and Baileys, and it’s not the only coffee-meets-booze option on the menu: Tradesman offers coffee-spiked twists on an Old Fashioned and a Negroni, and there’s a boozy vanilla latte, too.
The Wig Shop
At the Wig Shop, the JM Curley and Bogie’s Place sibling that opened in 2022, bar manager Oscar Simoza’s favorite drink on the menu, Rise & Grind, will wake you right up; in fact, the bar will only serve you one of these per visit thanks to its high caffeine content. The drink—not exactly an espresso martini, but it scratches that itch—combines rum with cold brew coffee, the espresso liqueur Borghetti, cinnamon-demerara, whipped cream, and sea salt, with a mini chocolate-covered pretzel on the side.
27 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-338-6333, wigshopboston.com.
This swanky downtown destination has plenty of creative cocktails, including some large-format options, but it pays equal attention to a few classics like an espresso martini. Yvonne’s take is a bit stronger on the espresso flavor and less like a dessert than others on this list because it sticks to the traditional recipe of vodka, espresso, and Kahlúa—no Irish cream. (Vanilla syrup rounds out the drink.)
2 Winter Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-267-0047, yvonnesboston.com.