Are Espresso Martinis Vegan?

Are Espresso Martinis Vegan

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There’s nothing I love more than a nice espresso martini at the end of a hard Friday, but when I became vegan, things had to change a little. Have you ever wondered: Are espresso martinis vegan?

If you’re vegan and appreciate an espresso martini, you’re going to want to read ahead…

(Don’t worry; it’s not all bad!)

What Is an Espresso Martini?

If you’re imagining a James Bond-style martini with espresso in it, you’ve got the right idea. That’s pretty much what this drink is, just a bit more dressed-up. It also goes by the name ‘vodka espresso’.

Espresso Martini

This cold drink has undergone several twists and changes over the years, but the base ingredients have stayed relatively consistent:

  • Vodka
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Espresso

The International Bar Association lists the following ingredients and amounts:

  • 50ml vodka
  • 30ml Kahlúa
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 1 strong espresso

The drink is served in a martini glass (obviously) that has been previously chilled, and then garnished with coffee beans rather than the twist of lemon or olives. Some bartenders do still add the lemon zest twist, though.

Are Espresso Martinis Vegan?

No, espresso martinis are not typically vegan friendly.

I know that’s probably bad news for you, but there are ways to make this drink suitable for vegans. You just can’t use the usual ingredients for this coffee-based cocktail: Bailey’s Irish Cream, or Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur.

According to the Kahlúa website, the drink doesn’t contain “milk, cream or any milk derived ingredients”, so it is dairy-free.

The website also states, however:

“Kahlúa Original, Kahlúa Flavors and KahlúaReady-To-Drink (RTD’s) are NOT acceptable for a vegan diet.”


The Bailey’s website also clearly states the ingredients that make the Original Irish Cream drink not vegan-friendly:

“Milk and milk products (lactose included).”

Vegan Espresso Martini

How to Make an Espresso Martini Vegan Friendly

You have a few options open to you if you want to make this non-vegan friendly boozy beverage suitable for a vegan to drink.

1: Replace Kahlúa or Bailey’s with Tia Maria

Tia Maria is 100% vegan.

It is a little runnier and thinner than either Bailey’s or Kahlúa, and it is more brown than creamy-coloured. You can add more creaminess to your drink by adding a touch of a plant-based cream or milk product.

This vegan recipe, by Texan Erin, shows you how to do exactly that:

2: Replace Kahlúa or Bailey’s with Other Vegan Coffee Liqueurs

There are a few different vegan coffee liqueurs on the market these days, which is good news for you if you prefer to live a plant-based life.

Check out some of these:

  • Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur (reportedly vegan)
  • Fair Cafe Liqueur
  • 77 Black Coffee & Vanilla Liqueur For Espresso Martini

3: Leave Out Bailey’s or Kahlúa Completely

The below recipe, by Kayla’s Kitch and Fix, shows you just how to make a vegan-friendly espresso martini without the need for other substitutes. Super simple to make and using ingredients you’ve probably already got at home; you’ll find the recipe right here:

4: Use Vegan-Friendly Bailey’s Irish Cream

Bailey’s has recently released a vegan-friendly version of their popular Irish cream drink, containing almond and soy milk products.

Bailey’s Almond Dairy Free can be used in all the same ways that the regular, non-vegan version of the liqueur can, just without the guilt factor attached.

Coffee of the Month - February

Written by: Ivy S.

By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!