Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

 

Mexico’s Answer to the Espresso Martini

The carajillo cocktail stars strong coffee and Spanish liqueur, with notes of warm baking spices

Mexico’s Answer to the Espresso Martini

The carajillo cocktail stars strong coffee and Spanish liqueur, with notes of warm baking spices

By Katie Ayoub
January 9, 2024

By Katie Ayoub
January 9, 2024

 

The carajillo is a unique cocktail that not only presents a tangible menu opportunity but also underscores the value of exploring global cuisines for creative recipe development. It originally hails from Spain, where it’s served as a spiked hot coffee drink. But it’s the Mexican variation that is gaining momentum on U.S. menus.

Served chilled, this velvety cocktail features strong coffee and Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur with notes of warm spices, citrus and vanilla. The carajillo is a perfect evolution of the red-hot espresso martini, introducing global intrigue for consumers looking for a next-level version of the iconic coffee cocktail. It also opens the door to distinctive maneuvers, including additions like horchata or mezcal, and the transformation from a beverage into a sweet treat.

Riffs on carajillo cocktails are popping up across the country. At Suerte in Austin, Texas, the Carajito includes Licor 43, rum, Fernet Branca Menta, cold brew and spiced cocoa bitters. Mírate in Los Angeles gives the carajillo a signature twist with its Brewjo, made with Licor 43, nitro cold brew and mazapan, Mexico’s popular peanut-based candy.

From Drink to Dessert

Photo Credit: Richard Sandoval Hospitality

At d’Leña, Richard Sandoval’s modern Mexican restaurant, the Carajillo Crème Brûlée transforms the coffee drink into a dessert, with Licor 43 poured overtop tableside and lit for dramatic effect.

Given the core ingredients of coffee and spiced liqueur, it’s easy to see how well carajillo morphs into desserts and sweets.

At The Food Box, a premium Mexico-based burger concept with a U.S. outpost in San Diego, the Carajillo Milkshake blends vanilla ice cream with coffee and Licor 43, crowned with a collar of whipped cream and a dusting of chocolate shavings.

The Carajillo Crème Brûlée at Washington, D.C.’s d’Leña offers a great example of a dessert adaptation, dialing up the theatrics with a tableside finish of Licor 43 poured over the dessert, then flamed for added char and excitement.

 

The carajillo is a unique cocktail that not only presents a tangible menu opportunity but also underscores the value of exploring global cuisines for creative recipe development. It originally hails from Spain, where it’s served as a spiked hot coffee drink. But it’s the Mexican variation that is gaining momentum on U.S. menus.

Served chilled, this velvety cocktail features strong coffee and Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur with notes of warm spices, citrus and vanilla. The carajillo is a perfect evolution of the red-hot espresso martini, introducing global intrigue for consumers looking for a next-level version of the iconic coffee cocktail. It also opens the door to distinctive maneuvers, including additions like horchata or mezcal, and the transformation from a beverage into a sweet treat.

Riffs on carajillo cocktails are popping up across the country. At Suerte in Austin, Texas, the Carajito includes Licor 43, rum, Fernet Branca Menta, cold brew and spiced cocoa bitters. Mírate in Los Angeles gives the carajillo a signature twist with its Brewjo, made with Licor 43, nitro cold brew and mazapan, Mexico’s popular peanut-based candy.

From Drink to Dessert

Photo Credit: Richard Sandoval Hospitality

At d’Leña, Richard Sandoval’s modern Mexican restaurant, the Carajillo Crème Brûlée transforms the coffee drink into a dessert, with Licor 43 poured overtop tableside, and then lit for dramatic effect.

Given the core ingredients of coffee and spiced liqueur, it’s easy to see how well carajillo morphs into desserts and sweets.

At The Food Box, a premium Mexico-based burger concept with a U.S. outpost in San Diego, the Carajillo Milkshake blends vanilla ice cream with coffee and Licor 43, crowned with a collar of whipped cream and a dusting of chocolate shavings.

The Carajillo Crème Brûlée at Washington, D.C.’s d’Leña offers a great example of a dessert adaptation, dialing up the theatrics with a tableside finish of Licor 43 poured over the dessert, then flamed for added char and excitement.

About the Author

mmKatie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.

 

In This Issue

Flavor & The Menu

About The Author

Katie Ayoub

Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.