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7 drinks that are simpler (and better) than an Espresso Martini

Ballantine's Day Ballantine's Parmesan Espresso Martini

We love classic cocktails. The Old Fashioned. The Whisky Sour. A simple yet can’t-go-wrong Scotch on the Rocks. Modern or centuries-old, sometimes you can’t beat an original recipe.

And then other times, you might want to mix things up.

Espresso Martinis have made a serious comeback. Rich, sophisticated and a fun pick-me-up, they’re popular day and night. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a good bartender that hasn’t perfected this 80s serve. But if you’re looking for something a little more inventive, there’s plenty more ways to caffeinate your cocktail hour.

Coffee in cocktails is a definite yes. Adding a depth of flavour and an energising kick, it’s an ingredient we’re seeing more and more of in recent years. Espresso shots, cold brew and coffee liqueur – there’s plenty of ways to shake up a boozy coffee drink. And if you can’t handle the caffeine, simply switch to decaf to get the flavour punch without the jitters. 

So if you’re bored of Espresso Martinis and after something a little less-poured, stick around. Here’s the most delicious coffee cocktails to drink (and make) instead.

Scots Coffee

A lighter, sweet alternative

Add sweetness and spritz to your coffee based cocktail with Scots Coffee. This scotch espresso drink blends the flavours of rich, dark coffee with warming, spiced whisky. A match made in heaven. Cream soda and plenty of ice keep things light and bubbly. Creating a frothy topped drink that tastes as good as it looks.

If you haven’t got an espresso machine, don’t fret. You can use instant or ground coffee instead. Brew for longer to get the most of that rich coffee taste, then leave to cool. You can also add a shot of coffee liqueur for extra intensity.

Cold Brew Kick

An easier-to-make take

Our Cold Brew Kick is laid-back, icy and seriously cool. It takes minutes to make and is guaranteed to wake up the night in style.

Cold brew cocktails are more accessible than traditional Espresso Martinis. They can be shaken up at home and don’t require an espresso machine – perfect for making rounds or a quick drink. 

You can either make the brew at home or pick up pre-made concentrate. To make your own, steep your favourite ground coffee in cold water for at least 8 hours. We recommend doing this in bulk at least the day before cocktail hour, or having a batch of cold brew in the fridge ready to go.

ballantines finest coldbrew coffee 2

Blood Shot Eye

A warm, whisky twist

Coffee and whisky are seriously good together. Both bring rich, aromatic flavour and combine to bring out each other’s unique notes. Vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and spices – you can taste tons of delicious flavours in each.

Blood Shot Eye is our high energy scotch coffee cocktail that adds a pour of Ballantine’s Finest whisky to your cold brew coffee mix. Add sugar to sweeten and serve on the rocks. With an orange twist to create a zesty finish.

Iced Coffee

A cooler, creamy drink

Love iced coffee? Then you’ll love this boozy twist. This highball coffee cocktail is the perfect alternative to daytime Espresso Martinis. Swap it in for your next weekend brunch and watch your friends follow suit. 

Made with a milk, sugar syrup and scotch base, our Whisky Iced Coffee is a simple pour and stir recipe. Then top with fresh espresso to get that lush caramel colour serve.



No pranks here. The viral Parmesan Espresso Martini really is a thing. And we love it. After giving it a go with Ballantine’s Finest, we reckon this is the new drink on the block.

Cheese and coffee just works. The balance of salty parmesan with rich, bitter espresso brings out delicious citrus, sweet notes. So get cheesy and give this recipe a whirl.

Ballantine's ilflat white christmas cocktail


A sweeter, citrus cocktail

Meet the next Espresso Martini. Sweeter, simpler and taking over socials, this two part cocktail is set to become the new drink on the scene. 

The classic recipe mixes one part espresso with one part Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur with over 43 herbs and spices to its flavour. Notes of cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel are most prominent, making it a fine ingredient to mix with coffee.

Want to make it even better? Add a dash of Ballantine’s 12 Year Old scotch to heighten the aromatic flavours even further. With oaky vanilla notes and a sweet honey finish, this whisky can elevate any drink.

Whisky Espresso Martini

A small tweak for extra spice

Not quite ready to part ways with a classic? Try this whisky twist instead. Swapping out vodka for Ballantine’s blended scotch whisky is a simple way to mix things up without straying too far from the OG Espresso Martini recipe.

Our no.1, award-winning scotch has stayed true to its original ingredients since 1910, so you know it’s a good one to make the switch. Sweet vanilla, milk chocolate and a hint of spice elevate the coffee’s rich aroma. Give it a try, we reckon it’ll be your new order.

Looking for more ideas to sip? Find more ways to drink Ballantine’s with our whisky cocktail recipes. There’s extra whisky and coffee drinks plus alternatives to other classic serves including Negroni variations and twists on an Old Fashioned.

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You already know we’ve nailed the Finest Whisky to ever grace a glass. But that’s just a little drop of what we’re about. Scroll on for the latest news and features from across the world of Ballantine’s whisky, True Music and much, much more.