Café Carajillo is a beverage made from coffee, with a special ingredient or touch of liqueur, such as brandy or another distilled drink, like rum. It's typically served in a small glass. The story behind it is quite curious; it's said to originate from Cuba, where soldiers would mix coffee with liquor for "courage" or "corajillo", thus coining the term "carajillo". There are many tales regarding its origin, and this is one of them.
I wanted to share this recipe because it's delicious. Being on a break from my cooking classes, I decided to take a barista course, focusing on coffee-based drinks. That's where I learned to make it. The mix of coffee with liquor tastes wonderful. But, it's essential to keep everything balanced; it's not a highly alcoholic drink but rather harmoniously blended for a delightful taste.
In barista classes, we're taught to taste various coffee types, a broad topic indeed, and how to enjoy good coffee without sugar. I used to not drink coffee without some sweetness, but I've now learned to do so, and I can confess that I've come to appreciate coffee's natural attributes more. In this beverage, there's no need for sugar due to its balanced profile.
I hope you'll be inspired to prepare this delicious Café Carajillo, perfectly balanced in terms of caffeine and liquor.
Which type of coffee is recommended for Café Carajillo?
Even though the traditional Colombian carajillo is made with espresso, you can also choose a medium to dark body filtered coffee to preserve the robust flavor that contrasts and blends well with rum or brandy. It's essential that the coffee is of high quality and freshly brewed to maintain its distinctive aroma and flavor.
Can I use another type of liquor instead of rum or brandy?
Yes, while rum and brandy are the most traditional choices for this recipe, you can experiment with other liquors. Some prefer whiskey or even coffee liqueur to add an extra layer of flavor to the carajillo. However, I'd advise against using overly sweet liquors as they might overpower the coffee's taste.
How can I adjust the sweetness of Café Carajillo?
If you prefer a sweeter carajillo, you can add sugar to taste before combining the coffee with the liquor. Another popular method is using simple syrup (sugar and water heated together until sugar dissolves) for sweetening. If you're looking for a sugar-free alternative, consider natural sweeteners like stevia.
Is it necessary to decorate the glass rim with sugar?
Rimming the glass with sugar not only adds subtle sweetness but also makes for a more elegant presentation. However, it's optional. If you're up for a different twist, try using cocoa powder or cinnamon for a unique flavor touch.
Are there any traditional variations in other regions?
Yes, in places like Spain, for instance, carajillo is prepared by heating the liquor with coffee beans, lemon peel, and sugar before adding hot coffee. In Mexico, Licor 43, which has a vanilla flavor, is commonly used. Each region might have its twist on the carajillo, so feel free to experiment!
Chef's Tips and Tricks
- Ensure the coffee is piping hot when making the carajillo so the liquor and coffee blend well.
- When serving in a glass, you can preheat it with hot water to keep your carajillo warm for longer.
- Don't overdo the liquor; the key is to maintain a balance between the coffee and liquor flavors.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Using coffee that isn't freshly brewed. The taste and aroma can diminish, affecting your carajillo's quality.
- Not measuring the proportions correctly. Ensure you follow the measurements to achieve the authentic carajillo taste.
If you've enjoyed this Café Carajillo, you might also want to try a delightful Cubalibre cocktail or Margarita cocktail. Discover more coffee recipes at Colcafé.
- 1 cup freshly brewed espresso.
- 2 ounces of rum or brandy.
- Sugar (optional)
- Spread sugar on a plate and rim the glass with sugar for decoration.
- Pour the freshly brewed espresso, followed by the liquor. And it's ready.