Unfortunately, Espresso Martinis Are Super Bad for You

Unsurprisingly, combining alcohol and caffeine into one delicious cocktail is a recipe for poor sleep and heart problems

A coffee-based cocktail in a chilled martini glass. Cocktail was shaken to give a nice, cream colored head on the cocktail
So delicious, yet so bad for you.
Kim Patrick P. Aguirre

In case you somehow managed to miss it, the espresso martini is having a bit of a moment. Unfortunately if unsurprisingly, it turns out this buzzy it-drink of the past year or so also happens to be terrible for you. According to the New York Post, the trendy cocktail is wreaking havoc on sleep and heart health. As columnist Johnny Oleksinski put it, “Finding a doctor in NYC who has something nice to say about the espresso martini is harder than securing a reasonable two-bedroom apartment with in-unit laundry in the West Village.”

It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that a cocktail combining two things that are notoriously bad for your health, caffeine and booze, isn’t exactly a health drink. Caffeine can obviously disrupt sleep, especially if consumed during the evening to late-night hours when you can typically find people downing espresso martinis, and mixing it with alcohol isn’t doing your REM cycles any favors. While alcohol is a depressant, sports dietician Amy Stephens told the Post that it can make it harder to fall asleep once it’s metabolized through your liver

But a bad night’s sleep isn’t the only potential health risk awaiting espresso martini enthusiasts. Cardiologist Dr. Johanna Contreras warned that consuming several shots of espresso — which anyone drinking a few espresso martinis is bound to do — can “increase your heart rate, and at times can be the culprit for atrial fibrillation, anxiety and depression.” Combined with the known heart risks associated with any level of alcohol consumption — yes, including red wine — you’ve basically got a heart attack in a martini glass. Throw in the sweeteners found in most espresso martinis — or at least the good ones, anyway — and you’ve also got a much more sugary, calorically dense drink on your hands than your average cocktail.

Again, none of this is exactly news. The espresso martini is basically your morning coffee, happy hour libation and dessert all rolled into one drink that goes down so smooth you might as well have two or three more. I don’t think any of us were under the impression that the espresso martini was good for us, health-wise, but that certainly isn’t going to stop us from slamming down a few of these trendy little sleep-ruining monstrosities every weekend for the foreseeable future.


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.