Coffee and liquor really go well together, and the Carajillo proves this.
This popular coffee cocktail most popular in Mexico is perfect for those who love strong coffee (like me!) and a hint of sweetness from the Licor 43. But you don’t have to take a trip to Mexico to get a sip, because I’ll be sharing with you a very easy Carajillo recipe that you can create in your kitchen.
Is it better than the espresso martini? I think it is.
What is a Carajillo?
Carajillo is a coffee cocktail that is made of 3 ingredients: espresso, Licor 43, and ice. It originated in Spain and has since gained popularity across the globe. It is said to have been invented by Spanish troops during their colonization in Cuba, where the soldiers mixed coffee with rum to give them courage or “coraje”, thus its name the Carajillo.
While espresso fits the bill when making a Carajillo, this recipe is pretty versatile. You can substitute it with any strong coffee, but be sure to use Licor 43 for that distinct hint of sweetness.
But what I really like about this drink is how easy it is to make. Just a combination of a few ingredients and I can serve a delicious coffee cocktail whenever I want to.
Ingredients & Equipment to Make a Carajillo
Here are the tools and ingredients you will need to make your Carajillo:
- Espresso machine: Brews your espresso shot for the Carajillo.
- Mixing glass: Where you’ll combine the ingredients.
- Shaker: Used to mix the coffee and alcohol to create a frothy experience.
- Strainer: Sifts out impurities from your shaken cocktail.
- 1.5 oz Licor 43: This liquor will give your Carajillo added flavor and sweetness.
- 1 shot of espresso: A potent coffee for the base of your cocktail.
- 3 pcs coffee beans (optional): Garnish for your coffee cocktail.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make a Carajillo
Now that you have everything you need, follow these steps and you’ll be sipping your own homemade Carajillo in no time:
1. Pull a shot of espresso.
- Fire up your espresso machine and pull a shot of espresso.
- For more detailed instructions, you can follow my guide on how to dial in espresso at home.
2. Combine the ice, espresso, and Licor 43 in a mixing glass and shake.
- In a mixing glass, put ice cubes followed by your fresh shot of espresso and Licor 43.
- Seal it with the shaker and give it a good shake for about 15 seconds.
- This melts a bit of the ice.
3. In a separate glass, add ice and pour the mixture using a strainer.
- Prepare a separate glass by putting ice in it.
- Use a strainer as you pour the mixture from the mixing glass to make sure no impurities go through.
- Make sure the froth falls to the top of your Carajillo.
4. Add coffee beans on top, serve, and enjoy.
- Make it more presentable by carefully adding coffee beans on top of the foam.
- Serve and enjoy your Carajillo!
What kind of cup should you serve a Carajillo in?
Your Carajillo is best served in a rocks glass as it will also have ice and foam along with the 3 oz drink.
Barista Tips on Making a Carajillo
- Substitute your espresso: Instead of espresso, you can use other potent coffees like AeroPress, Moka pot, and even cold brew concentrate to make your Carajillo.
- Add other liquor: If you want to fuse your drink with other alcohol, you can add a little bit of whiskey, vodka, or brandy to your beverage.
- Sweeten up your Carajillo: Want your cocktail to be on the sweeter side? You can also add some brown sugar, honey, or condensed milk to your Carajillo.
You now know how fast and easy it is to get your Carajillo fix at home, especially if pulling that espresso shot feels like second nature for you.
Feel free to experiment by using other coffees (I recommend cold brew) and adding other liquor to your drink. And let me know how it went by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.