Dive into the world of Carajillo, an espresso-infused cocktail delight originating from Spain and cherished in Mexico. It's even been called a Mexican carajillo. This captivating concoction blends the richness of espresso with the sweet and spicy notes of Licor 43, making it the perfect pick for any occasion.
I love coffee cocktails, and the Carajillo isn’t just another cocktail—it’s a timeless classic.
Born in the heart of Spain and deeply adored in Mexico, this drink resonates with the harmony of fiery espresso and the enchanting notes of Licor 43.
Suited for a relaxed afternoon or a sophisticated after-dinner rendezvous, it evokes the feeling of classic European coffeehouses while reminding one of the vibrant Mexican nightlife.
This coffee drink is especially popular in places like Mexico city. Where it's a staple.
I love having this spiked coffee as an after dinner drink, as it settles the stomach and off sets the comatose effects of a large meal, thanks to the espresso.
The best part of this coffee cocktail is that it's universally enjoyed. Even if you aren't a fan of black coffee, this drink is so sweet and smooth you'll forget you're drinking alcohol.
Why You'll Love This Drink
- Simplicity: Made with just two key ingredients, the carajillo is easy yet exquisite.
- Versatility: Can be enjoyed both hot and cold to suit any mood or season.
- Unique Blend: The fusion of robust espresso and sweet-spicy Licor 43 is unmatched.
- Historical Allure: A sip of history with its deep-rooted origins in Spain.
To make a classic Carajillo you'll need:
Espresso: Offering a deep and robust coffee flavor, it forms the strong foundation for this cocktail. Although, you could substitute strong coffee instead of espresso. Using Spanish coffee would be very tasty!
Licor 43: A unique sweet Spanish liqueur with 43 secret ingredients, bringing sweet, citrusy, and spicy undertones that elevate the drink.
Start by filling a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Next, pour in the Licor 43, ensuring you capture its aromatic essence.
Following this, top off with freshly brewed espresso, capturing the rich aroma of the coffee beans. Yes, it's ok if it's hot. You'll be shaking with ice which will cool down the entire drink very quickly.
Once all ingredients are together, shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
This process allows the flavors to meld beautifully, creating a drink that's both refreshing and invigorating.
Then fill an old fashioned glass with ice cubes and pour your espresso cocktail mixture over the ice.
I personally think this drink stands out on its own, without needing garnish. However here are some garnish ideas if you want to add a little drama.
Orange zest: Adds a citrusy note, complementing the Licor 43.
Coffee beans: A nod to the espresso, enhancing the drink's visual and aromatic appeal.
Cinnamon stick: Introduces a subtle spice, matching the drink's inherent warmth.
Whipped cream: For a luxurious texture and a creamy finish.
Chocolate shavings: A sweet contrast to the espresso's depth.
Star anise: Provides an attractive look and a hint of licorice flavor.
For a Carajillo that speaks volumes, always choose the best quality, freshly brewed espresso.
The shake is where the magic happens, so pour your heart into it. It’s essential for the best fusion of flavors and creating an ice cold drink.
To ensure the most aromatic and flavor-packed experience, serve right after the shake. The fresher, the better.
- Vanilla liqueur: Offers a sweeter profile as an alternative to Licor 43, though with less complexity. If you can, go for the licor 43!
- Cold brew coffee: For a milder coffee taste and smoother texture.V
- Very strong coffee: You can easily substitute the espresso for some freshly brewed coffee. Just make sure it's strong.
- Carajillo with a kick: Add a dash of chili powder or a spicy liqueur.
- Creamy Carajillo: Blend with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Mocha Carajillo: Introduce chocolate syrup or cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist.
- ½ cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
- 1 ½ to 2 ounces Licor 43
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add licor 43 and espresso to shaker.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Pour and serve immediately.
For a stronger and sweeter drink use the full 2 ounces of Licor 43.
When to Make a Carajillo
- For a European-themed party.
- After dinner drink with friends.
- An elegant brunch or high tea.
- A warm, cozy evening by the fireplace.
The Carajillo cocktail finds its roots in Spain, where it was traditionally consumed as a spirited coffee drink. It later became a beloved cocktail in Mexico, gaining popularity and undergoing its unique adaptations in the process.
Yes, you can use regular coffee. However, espresso is preferred due to its stronger and more concentrated flavor. If using regular coffee, try to brew it stronger than usual to maintain the drink's robustness.
Licor 43 is a unique Spanish liqueur made up of 43 secret ingredients. It is known for its sweet, citrusy, and spicy undertones, giving the Carajillo its distinctive taste. Its name and reputation stem from its complex blend of ingredients.
If you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can use a mason jar with a tight-sealing lid. Fill it with ice, add Licor 43 and espresso, seal the jar, and shake vigorously. This makeshift method will give you a similar blending effect.
The coffee cocktail is versatile and can be enjoyed both ways. Typically, when served hot, it's reminiscent of a warm spiked coffee drink, and when served cold, it's shaken with ice to create a refreshing cocktail.
While Licor 43 gives Carajillo its unique flavor, you can experiment with other liqueurs like vanilla liqueur or even Grand Marnier. Each substitute will offer a different taste profile, so the result will vary from the traditional cocktail.
To give your coffee cocktail a creamy texture, consider blending it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or topping it with a dollop of whipped cream. This will add richness and a velvety texture to the drink.
An espresso martini combines vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso, typically served cold with a creamy texture. In contrast, a Carajillo blends espresso with Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. The main distinction is the alcohol used (vodka for the martini and Licor 43 for the Carajillo) and their respective flavor profiles.