People Are Turning Their Whipped Coffee Into Espresso Martinis — and We Tried Them

One PEOPLE staffer transformed the low-ingredient, creamy coffee drink into the perfect cocktail


Odds are you've seen the Dalgona coffee trend that's taking over social media at least once in the last couple of weeks. The frothy, creamy drink originates in South Korea and requires only four ingredients: instant coffee, sugar, milk, and water. It's also surprisingly easy to make (if you have an electric mixer...or you're willing to put in the work).

I've somehow gotten it to work twice now and I'm particularly low-skilled when it comes to cooking. But there's a way to make the coffee drink even better, and it involves alcohol.

Cocktail specialist Lucy Morton was the first to introduce liquor into the mix after adding a double-shot of Courvoisier VSOP Cognac along with vanilla/caramel/butterscotch syrup or vanilla essence, sugar syrup, caster sugar, and a milk of your choice.

Unfortunately, I simply do not have those ingredients at home, and neither do a lot of people. So I turned to a different recipe and swapped the cognac, flavored syrup, and vanilla essence with Bacardi Gold Rum, Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur, and simple syrup. I mean, go big or go home.


After trying and failing twice to make the Dalgona coffee with ground coffee, I turned to the internet and found out you can indeed make the drink without instant coffee. I'm not one to give up easily, so I poured hot water over 2 tablespoons of ground coffee, stirred, waited a couple of minutes, and then filtered out the grains from the brewed coffee into a new cup.

Next, I combined four tablespoons of the now-instant coffee into a bowl with four tablespoons of sugar (I know that is a lot of sugar) and then whisked by hand for way too long. This part was surprisingly difficult. When I first made this drink a month ago, I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, which made the process a lot easier. Sadly, I did not have the mixer with me this time.

The coffee mixture became a creamy, caramel-colored light brown with an acceptably smooth consistency.

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Once the whipped coffee step was completed, I combined ice, 50 ml of milk, 1 oz. of simple syrup, 3 shots of rum, and 3 shots of Irish cream in a cocktail shaker and shook for 30 seconds, until well combined and cold. While this part certainly asks for minimal upper arm strength, it was not impossible to do without this physical characteristic.

I then strained the cocktail over chilled martini glasses and spooned the Dalgona mixture over the top. Allow me to remind those reading that the consistency was not actually as thick and creamy as it is supposed to be. That is okay because the flavor was the same once it was mixed in properly.

At the very end, I grated dark chocolate espresso beans over the drinks with a very tiny kitchen tool and voilà.

Honestly, these drinks were a lot better than I thought they would be and had just the right amount of coffee flavor. I'm not saying I'm a master barista, but I'm also not not saying that.

Bottom line is: If I can do it, anyone can. Furthermore, this is a great excuse to drink during the day, and it's an easy way to entertain while staying inside. 10/10 recommend.

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