Tia Maria Cocktail Recipe

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Tia Maria Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


Tia Maria is a classic coffee liqueur that originated in Jamaica in the 17th century. It is said to have been created by a Spanish aristocrat who fled to Jamaica during a colonial war. The recipe was passed down through generations and eventually became a popular ingredient in cocktails. Tia Maria is often enjoyed by those who love coffee and sweet, rich flavors.

How Tia Maria Tastes?

The Tia Maria cocktail has a rich, sweet, and slightly bitter taste, with strong coffee and chocolate notes. It is smooth and creamy, with a warming sensation from the alcohol.

Interesting facts about Tia Maria

  • Tia Maria is made from Jamaican coffee beans, which are known for their strong flavor and aroma.
  • The name 'Tia Maria' means 'Aunt Maria' in Spanish, a tribute to the woman who first created the liqueur.
  • Tia Maria is often used as a key ingredient in popular cocktails like the Espresso Martini and the White Russian.


A few good options for Tia Maria are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

Tia Maria

Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur that brings a deep coffee flavor and slight sweetness to the cocktail. If you use less, you might lose the coffee character; too much can overpower the other ingredients. An alternative could be Kahlúa, which would make the drink slightly sweeter and thicker.

Mary Mitkina


The vodka is a neutral spirit that adds a kick without interfering with the flavors. If omitted, the cocktail would be less potent and more dessert-like. Opting for a flavored vodka could introduce an interesting new dimension—think vanilla or hazelnut!

Alex Green


Freshly brewed coffee intensifies the boldness and supports the coffee notes of Tia Maria. A weaker coffee could make the drink too mild, whereas a too strong brew might turn it bitter. Cold brew could be a smoother alternative and would add a different coffee texture.

Emma Rose

Heavy Cream

Cream creates a luscious layer on top of the drink and offers a pleasing contrast to the dark layers below. Skimp on it and the visual effect is lost; overdo it and the drink becomes too thick. Half-and-half could be a lighter replacement but would reduce the richness.

Mary Mitkina


Ice chills the drink, making it more refreshing and diluting the cocktail to the perfect strength as it shakes. No ice, and you've got a lukewarm, overly strong concoction. Crushed ice would chill the drink faster but also dilute it more quickly.

Alex Green

Cocoa Powder

A pinch of cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolatey bitterness, enhancing the complexity. Without it, you'd miss this subtle layer. Cinnamon could be a warm, spicy substitute.

Emma Rose

Coffee Beans

The coffee beans are mainly for decorative purposes, but they also give off a rich aroma when you bring the glass to your nose. Without them, you'd lose some of the multisensory experience. Chocolate-covered coffee beans would add an extra treat on top!

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Tia Maria Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add Tia Maria, vodka, and coffee to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Gently pour heavy cream over the back of a spoon to create a layer on top of the cocktail.
  6. Dust the top with a pinch of cocoa powder.
  7. Garnish with coffee beans.

Pro Tips

  • Use freshly brewed coffee for the best flavor.
  • For a thicker, creamier texture, shake the heavy cream before adding it to the cocktail.
  • Chill your martini glass in the freezer for a few minutes before serving to keep your cocktail cold longer.

Perfect Pairings

Coffee or Chocolate-Flavored Desserts

Pair with rich coffee or chocolate-based desserts like tiramisu or chocolate lava cake which will complement the coffee and cocoa notes of the cocktail.

Savory Snacks

Bold flavors like aged cheeses or spiced nuts can stand up to the robust flavors of this cocktail.

After Dinner Drink

This cocktail is perfect as a standalone after-dinner treat, perhaps taking the place of dessert itself with its rich and creamy texture.

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What you could change in Tia Maria

  • Kahlua can be used as a substitute for Tia Maria.
  • If you don't have vodka, you can use white rum.
  • Half-and-half can be used in place of heavy cream for a lighter cocktail.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Espresso Martini Twist

Replace the coffee with freshly made espresso for a stronger kick. A shot of espresso can provide an even more robust coffee flavor and a lovely crema on top.

Ingredients: Tia Maria, Vodka, Espresso, Heavy Cream, Ice, Cocoa Powder, Coffee Beans

Recipe: Use espresso instead of regular coffee. Proceed as per the original recipe. This twist will offer deeper coffee notes and a creamy texture.

Salted Caramel Indulgence

Adding a salted caramel syrup provides a salty-sweet contrast and can really play off the rich coffee flavors.

Ingredients: Tia Maria, Vodka, Coffee, Heavy Cream, Ice, Cocoa Powder, Coffee Beans, Salted Caramel Syrup

Recipe: Add a teaspoon of salted caramel syrup to the shaker before adding the other ingredients. Shake well and garnish with a small pinch of sea salt on top of the cocoa powder.

White Russian Remix

Substitute heavy cream with milk and add a splash of Kahlúa. This will lighten the texture and introduce a tinge of sweetness and complexity to this classic cocktail.

Ingredients: Tia Maria, Vodka, Coffee, Milk, Kahlúa, Ice, Cocoa Powder, Coffee Beans

Recipe: Use milk instead of heavy cream and add half an ounce of Kahlúa. Shake the ingredients and serve over ice in a rocks glass instead of a martini glass. Garnish with grated chocolate.

In case you forgot basics how to make Tia Maria

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Tia Maria

What is the alcohol content of Tia Maria?

Tia Maria has an alcohol content typically around 20% ABV (alcohol by volume).

What kind of cocktails can be made using Tia Maria?

Aside from the Tia Maria cocktail, this beverage can also be used in creating other cocktails like the Black Russian, the Dirty Banana, or the Jamaican Coffee.

How is Tia Maria different from Kahlua?

Both are coffee liqueurs but they differ primarily in the base alcohol used. Tia Maria is made with Jamaican rum while Kahlua is made with Mexican rum. They also have different flavor profiles; Tia Maria has a lighter, more nuanced flavor, while Kahlua is sweeter and heavier.

What mixers go well with Tia Maria?

Tia Maria can be mixed with a variety of beverages, such as milk, coffee, cola, or even Guinness stout to create a unique cocktail blend.

Should Tia Maria be served chilled?

Chilling Tia Maria isn't a requirement but it is generally served cold especially when used in cocktail recipes.

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