The Washington Post

Espresso Martini Granita

Espresso Martini Granita 6.000

Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Nicola Justine Davis for The Post

Aug 3, 2022

If you are looking for a refreshing summer dessert that requires minimal effort and equipment, granita fits the bill. While granita is often made with fresh fruit, such as strawberry or watermelon, Italians have also been known to serve a variation made with espresso. Along with a cool-down, it also delivers a jolt of caffeine. For a lovely and boozy version, the recipe below adds coffee liqueur and vodka, transforming this popular dessert into a grown-up treat.

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 3 hours

Make Ahead: The granita takes about 3 hours to fully set.

Storage Notes: Freeze, covered, for up to 1 week. Before serving, flake again with a fork.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) hot espresso (may substitute regular coffee; decaf is okay, too)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) vodka
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) heavy cream
  • Espresso beans, for garnish (optional)


In a large liquid measuring cup with a spout, stir together the espresso, sugar, vodka and coffee liqueur until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch dish and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

Remove from the freezer, stir with a fork to break up the forming ice crystals and return to the freezer. Check the granita every 30 minutes, scraping with a fork each time, until it becomes icy all over, about 2 hours.

When ready to serve, in a cold, dry bowl, using a handheld mixer (or in a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment) beat the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

Place a few teaspoons of the whipped cream on the bottom of a martini glass (or use another type of glass if you don’t have martini glasses). Spoon the granita on top and top with additional whipped cream. Garnish with a few espresso beans, if using.

Repeat with remaining granita and cream, and serve immediately.

Recipe Source

From food writer Anna Francese Gass.

Tested by Debi Suchman.

Email questions to the Food Section.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (about 1/2 cup granita and 1 tablespoon whipped cream), based on 7: 123

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 6g 9%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 24mg 8%

Sodium: 7mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 10g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 10g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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