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Carajillo

How to Make the
Carajillo cocktail with dark rum

Which rum is best for a Carajillo?

Depending on your mood, any of the Dos Maderas line will mix well in a Carajillo. The origins of the recipe are varied with many possibilities from brandy, anisette, rum to Licor 43. To minimize the fuss of preparation, a richer rum with darker confectionery notes like brown sugar, maple or chocolate can strike a better balance and possibly eliminate the desire to add sugar.

About Dos Maderas 5+5

Dos Maderas 5+5 is a triple cask aged blended rum that spends five years in the Carribean followed by 5 years in Jerez. The time in Jerez aging is split 60/40 between Williams & Humbert Palo Cortado botas and PX botas. The result is a rich confectionary scented rum with plenty of natural baking spices, vanilla, maple, fig and chocolate notes.

About Dos Maderas 5+5

Dos Maderas 5+5 is a triple cask aged blended rum that spends five years in the Carribean followed by 5 years in Jerez. The time in Jerez aging is split 60/40 between Williams & Humbert Palo Cortado botas and PX botas. The result is a rich confectionary scented rum with plenty of natural baking spices, vanilla, maple, fig and chocolate notes.

Ingredients to make a Carajillo - Rum cocktail

1.5 oz. Dos Maderas 5+5 Rum

2 oz. Hot Espresso

Carajillo Recipe - Step by step how to prepare a rum cocktail

  1. Chill a Rocks glass
  2. Prepare a shot of fresh espresso
  3. Pour espresso into your glass over 1 large ice cube or several smaller ones
  4. Slowly pour Dos Maderas 5+5 on top, which will naturally float
  5. No garnish necessary but you can serve with a lemon peel or a small piece of chocolate and or a singed whole star anise.

Origins of the Carajillo cocktail

Born out of that pervasively ubiquitous feeling that encourages one to mutter any variant of the sentiment “f*@!k it” as well as the more practical notion of needing a pick-me-up after a particularly heavy meal, the Carajillo isn’t meant to be fussy. Some drinks you enjoy sipping on a beach, some on a Saturday evening at a cocktail bar before a show, or simply as a nightcap. The Carajillo means business. It is more of a morning shot under the foreboding environment of soon to immerse oneself in bad news or as a postprandial curative as if to politely apologize in advance to one’s digestive organs. In Catalan etymology, Carajillo stems from the word for courage, coraje, and the similar sounding phrase que ara guillo, translates to roughly “in a hurry.” In Andalucía, the expletive carajo is often shouted after partaking one. Writer Michael Snyder documents this well in his PUNCH piece. Early origins for the process of taking a bit of liquor, whether sweet, strong or both with one’s espresso are pervasive in much of coffee drinking Europe. Snyder also mentions the documented Cuban practice of sharing the drink with plantation workers to give them that same courage and energy for a hard day of labor. Clearly history has broadly accepted the now trendy practice of the Carajillo ritual in some form. In modern-day Mexico, the drink is synonymous with the sweet Licor 43 and a local working class favorite. The rum variant below is as simple as it is deliciously reviving. Try, if you can, to imagine a more able-elder-inverse-sibling to the Mind Eraser cocktail ritual.

Tips for the perfect Carajillo

Tip 1: Retaining the natural crema of the espresso is not a priority for this cocktail but some prefer the drink shaken up over rocks/ice instead of layered. Add all ingredients to a shaker with cracked ice and shake for 5 seconds. Strain over fresh ice. 

Tip 2: A proper Carajillo is designed to be bittersweet and invigorating but if you enjoy your coffee with cream, you can add some and stir before imbibing.

Tip 3: If you like your coffee more on the sweeter side, try adding a tsp. of Demerara syrup (1:1) to your espresso and stir before adding the rum. Or alternatively, you can rim your Rocks glass with a little Demerara sugar beforehand.

Tips for the perfect Carajillo

Tip 1: Retaining the natural crema of the espresso is not a priority for this cocktail but some prefer the drink shaken up over rocks/ice instead of layered. Add all ingredients to a shaker with cracked ice and shake for 5 seconds. Strain over fresh ice. 

Tip 2: A proper Carajillo is designed to be bittersweet and invigorating but if you enjoy your coffee with cream, you can add some and stir before imbibing.

Tip 3: If you like your coffee more on the sweeter side, try adding a tsp. of Demerara syrup (1:1) to your espresso and stir before adding the rum. Or alternatively, you can rim your Rocks glass with a little Demerara sugar beforehand.

Carajillo Variations and types

The most common variation is to add Licor 43 which is hugely popular in Mexico. Also common is the substitution of coffee for espresso which then launches the many geographic variants ranging from Irish to Russian to Spanish and more.

This 1980’s bartender love child of the Carajillo is a bit more cocktail bar and less morning ritual but clearly the nod is there. It was originally Vodka, Espresso and sweetener but Rum variations are also common.

Essentially the most popular cocktail in Mexico with a widespread following, the “shakerado” version is made with Licor 43 and served shaken over ice. Coming in second, the version that is built and layered or with the components served separately is also pretty pervasive.

This Italian service literally translates to “corrected coffee” and includes a shot of espresso with liquor spanning the range from Grappa, Brandy, Aquavit, Ouzo, Fernet.

This hot coffee service requires far more steps and includes Rum, Grand Marnier, coffee liqueur, cream and brown sugar. It has become a staple in Portland, Oregon.

FAQ

The Carajillo is most often served with Brandy or Rum and varies geographically. In Mexico, Licor 43 is the popular variant.

Licor 43 is a proprietary blend that is kept mostly secret but purports a recipe of 43 different herbs and spices. It has a flavor of sweet vanilla with citrus and spice.

The best glassware is Rocks glass as the drink should be served over ice.

The Mind Eraser drink is a highball served as a shot where coffee liqueur sits on the bottom, covered in ice and seltzer is added on top. The patron then uses a straw to quickly suck up the sweet liqueur followed by the soda.

The lore of the Carajillo’s origins are varied and the tradition seems to stem from western Europe, possibly Italy or Spain. The only thing for certain is that it was not invented before Espresso, which came to be in 1901.

Cocktails with Dos Maderas 5+5

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