Liquid confidence or liquid courage? While the latter is most often used as slang for alcohol, today’s cocktail embodies “coraje” or courage, and that’s exactly why it was long served to Spanish soldiers before heading into battle.
Similar to the Irish Coffee or the Espresso Martini, only simpler, this coffee-based digestif has only two ingredients. Literally, all you need for this one is freshly pulled espresso, Licor 43, decent ice, and a good shaking arm. It is, of course, the Carajillo. Just like its coffee cocktail cohorts, the Carajillo serves a dual function: It makes a great nightcap as well as a pre-evening pick-me-up.
Different espresso blends are welcome in the Carajillo, but Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur, is non-negotiable. It’s sweet, bright gold, contains 43 secret ingredients, and is loosely based on a several- thousand-year-old Carthaginian recipe for a certain Liqvor Mirabilis, or “Marvelous Liquid.” When shaken up with a shot of espresso, the resulting blend yields a picture-perfect foamy head sitting atop a velvety, vanilla-kissed, caffeinated cocktail.
On this episode of the “Cocktail College” podcast, we dive into the Carajillo and its origins, learn about Mexican “chunk ice,” and chat about Mexico City as a burgeoning cocktail mecca. Here to guide us is none other than Tito Pin Perez, creative director of Mexico City’s Rayo cocktail bar. Tune in for more.
Tito Pin Perez’s Carajillo Recipe
- 1 ½ ounces freshly pulled espresso
- 2 ounces Licor 43
- Garnish: espresso beans
- Add both ingredients to a shaker with a large rock of “chunk” ice.
- Shake vigorously until well chilled and a nice foam has formed.
- Strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with three espresso beans.