Carajillo Recipe: Spanish Delight

Carajillo recipe
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Carajillo Recipe
A classic Spanish cocktail popular in Mexico, the carajillo is made with espresso and Licor 43 and is the perfect afternoon or after-dinner cocktail that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Hey, Welcome back to Beyond the Bayou Blog. Today I will share my personal favourite recipe Carajillo Recipe. It all started one morning when I stumbled upon this Spanish drink during a trip to Barcelona. As I sat in a cozy caf�, sipping on my first-ever carajillo, I was instantly hooked by its rich aroma and warming feeling. Since then, it’s become my go-to drink for those early mornings when I need a little extra kick to start my day.

But what makes carajillo truly special to me is the memories it brings back. Whenever I take that first sip, I’m transported back to that bustling caf� in Barcelona, surrounded by the chatter of locals and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. It’s like a little piece of Spain right in my own kitchen.

Now, whenever I make myself a carajillo, I can’t help but smile as I remember that unforgettable morning in Barcelona. It’s amazing how a simple drink can hold so much meaning and bring back such fond memories. If you one of them who likes cocktails so you have to try Rum Punch and Bee�s Knees Cocktail.

What is Carajillo?

Carajillo is a popular Spanish drink known for its simple yet potent combination of coffee and alcohol, typically rum or brandy. The name “carajillo” is derived from the Spanish word “carajo,” meaning “strong liquor” or “kick,” reflecting the drink’s invigorating qualities. To prepare a carajillo, espresso or strong coffee is poured into a glass containing a shot of liquor, often sweetened with sugar or flavored with spices like cinnamon or citrus zest.

The combination of rich coffee flavors with the warmth of the alcohol creates a delightful contrast of bitter and sweet, making it a favorite choice for a pick-me-up or after-dinner indulgence in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. Carajillo’s popularity has spread beyond its origins, becoming a beloved drink enjoyed by coffee and cocktail enthusiasts worldwide.

How to make Carajillo?

step 1: Prepare the Coffee:

  • Start by brewing a shot of espresso using an espresso machine or a moka pot. Alternatively, you can brew strong coffee using a French press, AeroPress, or any other preferred method.
  • Ensure that the coffee is freshly brewed and hot. The heat will help to meld the flavors of the coffee and liquor.
Image source: You tube(Top shelf cocktails)

step 2: Pour the Coffee:

  • Choose a heat-resistant glass or cup to serve your carajillo. The glass should be able to withstand the heat from the freshly brewed coffee and the addition of alcohol.
Image source: You tube(The Educated barfly)

step 3: Add the Liquor:

  • Measure out 1 to 1.5 ounces of rum or brandy, depending on your preference for the strength of the drink.
  • Pour the measured amount of liquor into the glass with the coffee. The combination of hot coffee and alcohol will create a comforting warmth and depth of flavor.
Image source: You tube(The Educated barfly)

step 4: Serve and Enjoy:

  • Once prepared, serve the carajillo immediately while it’s still hot and aromatic.
  • Sip and savor the flavors of the rich coffee and warming liquor, either as a revitalizing pick-me-up or a satisfying after-dinner indulgence.
Image source: You tube(The Educated barfly)

Carajillo recipe

Carajillo Recipe

A classic Spanish cocktail popular in Mexico, the carajillo is made with espresso and Licor 43 and is the perfect afternoon or after-dinner cocktail that can be enjoyed hot or cold.
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Course: cocktail
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Calories: 400kcal
Author: Jacob Allen
Servings: 2 people


  • Espresso machine or coffee brewer
  • Heat-resistant glass or cup
  • Measuring tools
  • Stirring Utensil


  • 1 cup brewed espresso or decaf espresso
  • 1 ounces Licor 43
  • 8 ice cubes


  • Prepare a shot of espresso or strong coffee using your preferred method. If using coffee, make sure it’s brewed to be strong to stand up to the liquor.
  • While the coffee is still hot, pour it into a heat-resistant glass or cup.
  • Add 1 to 1.5 ounces of rum or brandy to the coffee. Adjust the amount of alcohol based on your preference for strength.
  • Serve the carajillo immediately, and enjoy it as a delightful pick-me-up or after-dinner drink.


  • You can also make this using one part Licor 43 to one part espresso, if you prefer a stronger Licor 43 flavor.
  • We use decaffeinated espresso.
  • If you make the espresso before dinner and put it in the freezer or refrigerator it will be nicely chilled and ready for an after dinner cocktail. The espresso can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • This cocktail can also be served over ice in an old fashioned or rocks glass.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.2g
Keyword best Carajillo Recipe, Carajillo Recipe, easy Carajillo Recipe, homemade Carajillo Recipe

Where did carajillo begin? 

The origin story of the Carajillo � like many drinks that come to us from the mists of history � is rather murky. In fact, there are several, very different, origin stories surrounding the drink. 

One of the most popular stories originates in Spanish-occupied Cuba. It is believed laborers on plantations drank coffee and a shot of rum for �courage� or coraje in Spanish. Many believe, carajillo is derived from the word.

It evolved from there to become a common neighborhood drink. Easy and acceptably consumed from morning to night. If that story doesn’t satisfy, then turn toward another story where workers invented the drink so they could toss it back quickly and get back to work.

What if I don�t have espresso?

Don�t let lack of an espresso machine prevent you from making carajillo! You can still make a great coffee cocktail with a pot of strongly brewed coffee. If you only have a coffee machine or a French press at home, brew an extra strong pot and use that in place of espresso.

What is Licor 43?

Licor 43 is a popular Spanish liqueur made with a top-secret blend of 43 herbs and spices � hence the name! The recipe has been closely guarded by the Zamora family ever since they invented it in 1946 but the flavour is unique with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and orange peel.

Carajillo Vs. Espresso Martini!

Because both drinks contain alcohol and caffeine, many people link the carajillo�s current popularity with that of the recently resurgent espresso martini. Over the last year, headlines have included everything from �The 2-Ingredient Carajillo Puts Espresso Martinis to Shame� to �How to Make a Carajillo, the Coffee Cocktail That�s Better Than Your Espresso Martini.�

While the drinks certainly share some similarities, they also have a lot of differences. For one, the espresso martini�s kick comes from vodka and coffee liqueur; espresso and sweetener also join the party. The drink was created in 1982 by London bartender Dick Bradsell. As legend has it, a patron asked him to make her a drink �to wake me up and fuck me up.� His recipe delivered: Espresso martinis contain nearly 20 grams of alcohol and anywhere from 50 to 63 grams of caffeine, depending on how the espresso was made.

The carajillo, however, emerged much earlier�circa the 19th century, at least. It contains just two ingredients: espresso or coffee, plus a spirit like rum or Licor 43. The typical carajillo has a little more than 11 grams of alcohol, nearly half of an espresso martini. It has approximately the same amount of caffeine.

What Is theDifference Between a Spanish and Mexican Carajillo?

It�s important to emphasize the fact that knowing how to make a Mexican carajillo and knowing how to make a Spanish carajillo aren�t the same.

In Mexico, Carajillos are always made with Licor 43 and served either puesto or shakeado.

Puesto is the native term for on the rocks � when the espresso is poured to float above the liqueur. Shakeado refers to shaken, or when a drink is whipped in a cocktail shaker and then poured over ice.

Some people don�t see the need to make things that complicated and just consider any type of spiked coffee carajillo. Having popularized among soldiers who added liquor to their coffee during the Spanish occupation of Cuba, that is how it started.

Serving Suggestions for Carajillo!

One of the best things about the carajillo cocktail is its ability to adapt to drinkers� individual taste preferences. You can add a number of different ingredients to our carajillo recipe and come out with something unique every time. What makes up enough of a carajillo drink portion can depend on how much alcohol is involved.

Generally speaking, it should be around 1.2 standard glasses per serving or an alcohol content level of 14.6% alc./vol.

That�s roughly what can be found in the recipe we�ve shared today, which, as a reminder, consists of:
Approximately 1.75 oz. to 2 oz. of freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee.
Around 1.5 oz. to 2 oz. of Licor 43.
For variants, 1 oz. of brandy, rum, or other liquor as an alternative to Licor 43.

When mixed as directed, the above beverage should contain about 125 calories and 13.1 grams of pure alcohol per serving.

What Does Carajillo Taste Like?

Carajillo has a rich and complex flavor profile, combining the bitterness of espresso with the sweetness of liquor. The alcohol adds a warm, spicy flavor that balances well with the coffee�s acidity. The result is a smooth and indulgent drink that is perfect for sipping.

Can I Make an Espresso Martini or Carajillo without an espresso maker or coffee maker?

Yes, absolutely as long as you aren�t a coffee snob. Before I had an espresso machine I always just bought iced mocha coffee cartons from the grocery store or even things like those Starbucks espresso shots in the can.

If you want to make it easy just buy those or some premade cold brew and you are good to go.

What to do with Leftover?

  1. Refrigerate for Later Use: If you have leftover Carajillo mix (espresso and Licor 43), you can refrigerate it in a sealed container for a day or two. When you’re ready to enjoy another Carajillo, just pour it over ice and give it a stir.
  2. Experiment with Desserts: The flavors of espresso and Licor 43 can enhance various desserts. Consider using the leftover mix as a drizzle over ice cream, or incorporate it into a tiramisu or custard recipe.
  3. Add to Coffee-based Recipes: Use the leftover Carajillo mix as a flavoring agent in other coffee-based drinks. You could mix it with milk or cream for a creamy coffee cocktail, or even add it to your morning coffee for an extra kick.
  4. Make a Sauce: Reduce the leftover Carajillo mix on the stove to create a thick, syrupy sauce. This sauce can be drizzled over pancakes, waffles, or grilled fruit for a delicious twist.

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