Here’s Where to Sip Everyone’s Favorite Boozy and Caffeinated Libation
The espresso martini: it’s the beverage with the extra buzz. This caffeinated elixir has a cult following—one that has become synonymous with a fun night out. Some are sweet; others are acidic. Some have foam; others are served straight up. Some have two beans, while others have three.
Most come in a martini glass, though others are packaged in a can. And yet one thing we can all agree on is this: When the waiter checks in near the end of a meal and that one friend we all know and love boldly orders an espresso martini, it’s hard not to follow suit. The espresso martini order is as contagious as the collective yawn and soon your whole table will be sharing a round. Who is serving up this salacious libation in Orange County? We’ve got a list of 10 spots where you and yours can get your buzz on.
Sure, we all know it as the iconic Instagram-friendly caffeine dealership, but Coffee Dose is also serving up some serious adult sips at their flagship shop from open to close. Their Espresso Tini is a huge hit since they are pros with espresso. They combine nitro espresso and housemade mint syrup with vodka, then top it all with vanilla cream and a pinch of fleur de sel. It hits all the right notes—sweet, slightly acidic, creamy, with a subtle salty finish. Pair it with the honeycomb ricotta toast or one of their Meet the Source cinnamon buns and you’re in for a serious afternoon delight. Don’t forget: the Tini is only served at their flagship store, located at The Ranch shopping center across from the Back Bay.
Location: Costa Mesa
This cantina in San Clemente is our southern-most pit stop, yet it’s worth the drive for their horchata espresso martini. They combine Cutwater Horchata Vodka with Frangelico, Bailey’s and cold brew to create a sensational sip that is both sweet and strong. Common across Latin America, horchata is a rice-based drink made with warm spices and is typically served over ice. We recommend pairing your martini with a molcajete for a little hot-and-cold Mexican fusion.
Location: San Clemente11/14
A Newport institution, Eat Chow has two locations to choose from: Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Baristas here shake up the espresso martini their way, made with vodka, Kahlua, a shot of espresso and cold foam. The coffee liqueur cuts the acidity of the espresso and gives it an ultra-creamy and semi-sweet flavor. Also a flirty touch, the cold foam acts like a blanket that swaddles the signature coffee bean garnish. The menu at Eat Chow is full of variety—you can’t go wrong with the warm chicken curry salad, the crispy chicken sandwich or a French dip.
Location: Newport Beach and Costa Mesa
It’s all in the name at A Restaurant—this eatery is the OG OC espresso martini spot. Their version is classic, consistent and always delicious. Bread is to butter as steakhouses are to martinis, and the old-school vibes at A make it the ideal spot to sip this creamy cocktail. We recommend ordering the signature A Ridiculous Sundae to go with your espresso martini—the perfect post-meal nightcap.
Local Insight: A Restaurant has a separate event space in the back corner of their property that is a stand-alone cottage, which is perfect for intimate celebratory dinners. Don’t worry: They serve the espresso martinis back there too.
Location: Newport Beach11/2
We’ve written about this hip spot many times before. Like, a lot. It is always topping our lists for places to enjoy a cocktail because they are simply doing things right. As one of the few rooftop bars around, they have taken drinking to new heights (quite literally) and have some of the city’s best cocktails. Their Espressotini is made with Ketel One, Caffè Borghetti and cold brew. It’s simple and potent—straight to the point. They also have a great menu of shared plates and feature a DJ every Thursday through Saturday.
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Another South County spot, Bar Jane exudes Great Gatsby vibes, and we’re here for it. All about the details, this San Clemente neighborhood joint boasts unique garnishes, monogrammed ice and worldly decor. It feels like a fancy New York speakeasy but right in our backyard. They have some awesome cocktails, including their espresso martini, made with Moongoat cold brew, demerara syrup, your choice of vodka or tequila and topped with whipped cream. We love that they make use of ingredients from other local purveyors and have a small menu of eats consisting of sliders, scallops, steak frites and more!
Location: San Clemente11/7
Joey is still the hot girl who moved to town that everyone wants, and it’s hopped on the espresso martini train because that’s what hot girls do. They have two options when ordering yours. Option 1: classic but with two shots of espresso for that extra buzz. Option 2: trade the Absolut for Skrewball peanut butter whiskey to enjoy a unique twist on this cult classic. Both are great, but the second option is our pick! The peanut butter whiskey pairs perfectly with the coffee liquor. Your next objective is to go crazy on the apps with sliders, sushi and wings.
Location: Newport Beach
Pacific City has a new date-night destination that hits all the spots when it comes to sipping those ‘spresso martinis. The Brant is the latest culinary addition to this open-air center and resides in good company next to The Bungalow, Kai Lounge and Bear Flag. Order the bacon-wrapped dates and savor the sunset while downing this buzzy beverage. And while we know that an espresso martini is basically a dessert in and of itself, you might as well get the lava cake before calling it a night.
Location: Huntington Beach
You might feel like a blind rabbit trying to find this place, but once you do, you’ll be able to reward yourself with one of their ultra-artisan espresso martinis. Located inside the Anaheim Packing House, hidden on the bottom floor, behind a fake bookshelf to the left of… well, just ask someone when you get there! This speakeasy is dark, moody and nowhere near Disneyland. Everything here is handcrafted, and their bartenders have an incredibly vast spirits knowledge. Their version of the espresso martini is called a Cafecito Cubano, which consists of cold brew-infused Havana añejo rum, St. Elder hazelnut liqueur, cinnamon and orange bitters. Reservations are highly recommended since there is limited seating.
Picture this: you’re wrapping up some much-needed retail therapy at South Coast Plaza and feel that all-too-familiar ping of hunger. Din Tai Fung has a huge wait—you need something sooner rather than later. The answer: Tableau Kitchen and Bar. They have a classic menu with salads, sandwiches and shared plates, but after a big day of shopping, you’re going to need a little something to take the edge off. One espresso martini, please! Their version is called One to Two Teaspoons, made with espresso, mole, mezcal, Kahlua, Licor 43 and smoke. It’s equal parts sweet and smoky—an elevated take on this fan favorite.
Location: Costa Mesa