A Spanish Carajillo was my parting gift from Pujol after dinner. Between the coffee and the liqueur, it provides both the stimulus of caffeine and a mellow vibe from the alcohol. You might think that’s counterproductive, because they cancel one another, but I say it’s an efficient method of self-medication. Or, you could think of this as the Spanish version of coffee with Kahlua or Amaretto.
Company legend claims Licor Mirabilis, or marvelous liquor, originated at Cartagena in 209 B.C.. They also say they make it using the same historic recipe. Forty-two (42) secret fruits, herbs and spices plus vanilla are used, then combined with neutral grain spirits. The result is a luscious, golden hued elixer with vanilla and citrus flavors at 31% A.B.V.
There are two recipes below. The first is for a carajillo and the second a pousse-cafe with the Licor 43 on the bottom and the coffee layered on top.
- 1 Part Licor 43: 1-1/2 to 2 ounces
- 2 Parts Freshly made black coffee: 3 to 4 ounces maintaining the 2:1 ratio
- Cubed Ice
Iced and Frothy Carajillo
- Brew fresh coffee how you like it. Espresso or drip, strong or medium. Make it to your preference. I like a strong drip coffee.
- Combine the coffee and Licor 43 in a shaker or a blender.
- If you use a shaker, add ice, shake the devil out of it to get it as frothy as possible then use a hawthorne strainer to pour it over fresh ice in a double rocks glass
- If you use a smoothie blender, don’t add ice and pulse it a couple of times to get a great foamy drink, then pour it into a double rocks glass with ice. It will gradually separate into liquid and foam as you sip.
Pousse – Cafe
- Pour the Licor 43 into a single rocks glass with ice cubes
- Add the coffee using a bar spoon, gently pouring to layer it on top
And just one more thing…
The spirits industry and particularly the whiskey sector is notorious for spinning tall tales. One question pops into my mind about Licor 43’s story. How did they keep the recipe secret for two thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine years? I don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone that can keep a secret for fifteen minutes.