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Pineapple Ginger Espresso Sour

The Espresso Martini is still having its moment, but have you tried an Espresso Sour? Rather than combining bold, bitter and sweet flavors, an Espresso Sour takes things to the next level by mixing bitter, sweet, and sour.

brown espresso cocktail in a martini glass.

This recipe melds all of those flavors together in perfect harmony with the addition of tropical pineapple and ginger. If you love espresso, but sour-style cocktails are more your style, this is a recipe you’ve got to try!

What is an Espresso Sour?

A Sour-style cocktail is one that combines a base spirit with a sweet element and a sour one (typically lemon or lime juice). Sours also frequently use egg white (or a vegan alternative like aquafaba) to create a fluffy foam on top.

For this espresso sour, the mix of spirits, sweet, and sour is taken a step further by adding the bitter and earthy notes of espresso. This adds depth and complexity to the drink. It also highlights flavors in the base spirit, so aged rums and whiskies are great choices.

pouring a brown espresso cocktail into a glass.

In addition to making a surprisingly harmonious cocktail, an Espresso Sour can be made without alcohol! Espresso can stand on its own as the base of this drink, although the proportions of each ingredient do need to be adjusted slightly.

Cocktail ingredients

This tropical-inspired drink is made with a mix of aged overproof Demerara rum, fresh espresso, an easy DIY pineapple ginger syrup, and lemon juice. Let’s dive into each below.

How to choose a rum

I recommend Lemon Hart 151 for this recipe. It might seem like a highly specific (or possibly harder to find) bottle recommendation, but the flavor is incomparable. Lemon Hart is a well known rum in the world of tropical and tiki drinks.

measuring the demerara rum in a glass jigger.

It’s characterized by a complex and intoxicating (pun intended!) blend of dried fruit and spice and flavors, with notes of vanilla, caramel and cocoa. If you’re not able to find this particular bottle, I recommend substituting another flavorful aged rum. Here are some suggestions:

  • El Dorado 8 or 12
  • Hamilton 86
  • Pusser’s Rum

Want more info about substituting rums? Check out this handy article from 5 Minutes of Rum.

How to make the syrup

Simple syrup is an essential ingredient in any cocktail maker’s home bar. I often mix up small batches of flavored syrups when testing new recipes or experimenting with twists on classics.

Fortunately, simple syrups of all kinds are extremely easy to make! You can find all the details in my Complete Guide to Simple Syrup, but here’s a quick run down.

pouring pineapple syrup into a glass bottle.

Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bottle and store in the refrigerator for about two weeks, or until the syrup starts to look a little cloudy. If it looks off at all, dump it and make a fresh batch.

Flavored simple syrups are not much harder to make. For this easy pineapple ginger syrup, I’ve used pineapple juice (fresh is best, but unsweetened canned Dole juice is ok), bottled ginger juice (from The Ginger People) and sugar. All you have to do is mix these three ingredients together and you’ll have a tremendously flavorful syrup for this and many other cocktails.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp (1/8 cup) ginger juice

Want to use fresh ginger? Find both methods in my Pineapple Ginger Simple Syrup Recipe

Should the espresso be fresh or cooled?

Some folks prefer to make their espresso martinis with fresh, hot espresso. This can give a fresher flavor, but will also provide quite a bit of dilution once the ice is thrown in. For this recipe, it’s not critical either way, but I prefer to let my espresso cool a bit before shaking.

close up of fancy pineapple leaf garnish.

Can I substitute coffee or cold brew?

Yes! Just use cold brew concentrate or a strong brewed (twice the strength of a regular cup) coffee. Allow hot coffee to cool to room temp before adding it to the shaker to avoid a watered down flavor.

Here are some more cocktails and mocktails you might enjoy:

brown espresso sour cocktail in a martini glass.
brown espresso sour cocktail in a martini glass.

Pineapple Ginger Espresso Sour

Amy Traynor
This modern, tropical rum cocktail combines the bittersweet and tangy flavors of espresso, pineapple, ginger and lemon.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail



  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
  • Shake until chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a pineapple leaf, if desired.
Keyword aged rum, demerara, espresso, tiki, tropical drinks
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