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Carajillo Recipe: How to Make This Mexican Coffee Cocktail

Coffee and liqueur is a classic cocktail recipe pairing that’ll never go out of style. From warm Irish coffees to Kahlua coffee cocktails, these boozy drinks can be served hot or cold, day or night. This Carajillo recipe is no exception. Keep reading to learn more about this Mexican coffee cocktail, where it came from, and how to make a stunning version of your own.

What You Need

  • Two 1.5-ounce shots of espresso
  • Two 1.5-ounce shots of Licor 43
  • Ice cubes
  • Chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • Whipped cream
  • A large, flat spoon
  • Cocktail glass

At a Glance

Brew Time:

5-10 minutes

Yield

4 oz.

What is a Carajillo Coffee Cocktail?

Along with Kahlua coffee, Spanish coffee cocktails, and Irish coffee, the carajillo is one of the best coffee cocktails we’ve ever tried. The Carajillo is a classic Mexican spiked coffee made with one part espresso and one part sweet Spanish Liqueur, Licor 43. Often served as a dinner drink, this spiked coffee is a great complement to decadent dessert.

Though we’ll only be using Licor 43 and espresso to make this spiked coffee, don’t be afraid to make this cocktail your own. Garnish this layered cocktail with coffee beans or whipped cream, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a splash of citrus or fruit juices. Also, you can experiment with this cocktail’s flavor profile by sweetening it with condensed milk.

And if you don’t have an espresso machine, don’t be afraid to substitute an equal part of strong coffee, or even cold brew coffee, to change things up. While dark roast coffee beans are the traditional option, feel free to customize this coffee cocktail with different single-origin beans or roasts.

What Is Licor 43?

Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur that the Zamora family first mixed in 1946 (1, 2). With warm spice, herbal, citrus, fruit, and sweet vanilla notes, this golden-yellow Spanish liqueur was inspired by an ancient Roman elixir called liquor mirabilis. Made with 43 ingredients, this liqueur’s unique, warm, spicy, fruity, and vanilla flavors are beloved worldwide—especially in Spain, Mexico, the USA, and South America.

carajillo coffee recipe

How to Make A Carajillo Cocktail

So keep reading for a quick, carajillo cocktail recipe that’ll make you the life of any party.

1. Brew Your Espresso

First, grind, dose, and pull two 1.5-ounce espresso shots. While a dark roast is preferable here, feel free to use whichever beans you like.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have an espresso machine, feel free to use strong coffee or even cold brew.

2. Pour the Licor 43 Shots

Once you’ve pulled your espresso shots, fill a standard cocktail glass with ice cubes, and pour two 1.5-ounce shots of Licor 43 over them.

3. Add the Espresso

Then, gently pour your espresso shots over the back of a spoon into the glass, and stir very gently. This will create a layered effect that’s sure to wow your guests.

4. Top up your carajillo with whipped cream

Finally, top your carajillo coffee cocktail with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and garnish with a few chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Pro Tip: While you can use plain ice for this cocktail, feel free to experiment with cold brew coffee ice cubes or fruit juice ice cubes for even more flavor and variety.

Final Thoughts

This carajillo coffee cocktail recipe is the perfect digestive or aperitif dinner drink. With sweet vanilla, fruity, and spicy notes, it’s a great complement to a decadent chocolate or pistachio mousse

Did you make this coffee cocktail?

FAQs

Yes, you can make a decaf carajillo recipe. You substitute the espresso shots with decaf or 3 ounces of strong-brewed decaf coffee to do this. You can even use decaf cold brew coffee and cold brew ice cubes, too.

Yes, there are different variations of the carajillo coffee recipe. For example, the Spanish carajillo coffee cocktail incorporates rum instead of Licor 43. Also, a carajillo Epoca is a coffee cocktail that uses 1.5 ounces of Aguardiente and one ounce each of espresso, honey, and simple syrup.

Yes, you can sweeten your carajillo cocktail with either honey, brown sugar, condensed milk, or any sugar substitute you prefer. Again, follow your palate, and experiment with different sweeteners to find the one you like best.

Yes, you can make a carajillo coffee latte. The warm, sweet flavor profiles of Licor 43 and espresso stand up well to cream or even frothed milk.

For a hot spiked latte, remove the ice cubes and froth eight ounces of whole or oat milk until it increases by a third. This yields 12 ounces of steamed milk and foam, which, when added to your four-ounce carajillo, gives you a delightful 16-ounce spiked latte.

For an iced carajillo latte, cold-froth four ounces of whole or oat milk with a French press and gently pour it over your carajillo cocktail and ice. This yields about 10 ounces of foamed milk, espresso, and liqueur, so use a larger glass, reserving the extra room for the ice cubes and garnishes.

  1. Our history – Licor 43 – Global. (2020, November 3). Licor 43 – Global. https://www.licor43.com/our-history/
  2. Cocktail ingredient: Licor 43 | Mixology.Recipes. (2017). Cocktail ingredient: Licor 43 | Mixology.Recipes. Mixology.Recipes. https://www.mixology.recipes/ingredients/550
Iris M. Pang
One of my first childhood memories of coffee was in Montreal, Quebec. Every time my family and I walked through the mall, the aroma of fresh, brewed coffee and Belgian waffles permeated all the stores. Whatever that delicious smell was, I had to have it. And the rest is history. When I'm not writing or touring local coffee shops, you'll find me on social media, trying out different ethnic cuisine at local restaurants, and having deep discussions over coffee and pastries.

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