3 Best Carajillo Recipes That Are Easy And Tasty To Make

Here are the three best Carajillo recipes with easy-to-find ingredients that you can make within 15 minutes.

Best Carajillo recipes
Carajillo is traditionally made of espresso

Carajillo is no more a stranger in any city’s top-rated bar. This classic Spanish cocktail benefits from simple and easy-to-find ingredients to introduce a well-rounded, full-bodied, thirst-quenching drink with an eye-pleasing look. 

Simply pour espresso and Licor 43 over some crystal-clear ice cubes, and you’re good to go. But the real question here is how much coffee and liquor should you go? Read on to find out the three best Carajillo recipes to make at home.

What To Look For In The Best Carajillo Recipe

The Flavor Of Coffee

Carajillo is traditionally made of espresso. Espresso is one of the most authentic and purest forms of coffee, with more oils and bean content than a standard coffee.

Plus, espresso has a high level of caffeine compared to low-quality coffee. Ideally, espresso should be warm – not too hot or cold if you plan to make a foamy layer. Cold espresso will have a more robust taste.

A Viscous Liquor

In a traditional Carajillo recipe, Licor 43 is used as it carries a beautiful blend of citrus and fruit juices, vanilla, and aromatic herbs and spices. And that’s why when it marries with a strong shot of coffee like espresso. Besides that, Bourbon, Cardamaro, and brandy are other great alternatives to replace Licor 43.

How To Make The Best Carajillo Recipe

How to make the best carajillo recipes?
If you don’t have Licor 43 at home, opt for any other strong liquor like a Cardamaro, brandy, or Bourbon

Even though the recipe is easy to follow, here are a few takeaways before testing it yourself:

  • If the coffee is not strong enough, it’s not Carajillo anymore.
  • Wait for the espresso to cool down slightly before pouring it into the ice.
  • The coffee should not be too hot that it melts the ice or too cold and loses a warm coffee’s superior taste.
  • If you don’t have Licor 43 at home, opt for any other strong liquor like a Cardamaro, brandy, or Bourbon.

3 Best Carajillo Recipes You Can Make At Home

The Best Traditional Carajillo 43 Recipe

First off, let’s get the traditional recipe on top of the list. The recipe goes with a shot of Licor 43 and espresso if you have a Chemex to brew your espresso at home.

If you cannot get an espresso, opt for any other type of strong coffee. Then you need ice cubes. Go for crystal-clear ice cubes if you can’t get fancy cocktail ice.

Some people will recommend a tumbler glass. However, if you don’t have that at home, opt for any other liquor glass you can get. Now, fill half the glass with ice and let the glass go cold.

Pour two ounces of Licor 43 slowly over the ice, then follow with two ounces of espresso. There will be a thin line separating the two ingredients. Use a spoon to slowly stir the mixture a few times until it’s thoroughly blended. 

You may notice that there’s no sugar or sweetener inside the drink. But if you like it slightly sweeter, add some sugar to the coffee, stir it up, and then pour it into the glass before the Licor 43 goes in.

The Best Frothy Carajillo

The only thing that makes this Carajillo different from the traditional recipe is the frothy foam on top. The real secret here lies in the shaking technique. You need two ounces of Licor 43, three ounces of freshly-made black coffee, and ice cubes.

Start by brewing the coffee the way you like it. If you have espresso above, why not play it with some Robusta drip coffee?

Mix the coffee with Licor 43 in a shaker with some ice of choice, close the lid tightly and start shaking for one minute. Stop when you see the foam and slowly pour it over fresh ice in a double rocks glass. You’ll start noticing it separates into liquid and foam in a few seconds.

The Best Bourbon Carajillo

This one is my favorite Carajillo recipe of all time. I like to spruce it up with pineapple and amaro flavors in this recipe. 

Brew 1.75 ounces of espresso and keep it warm. Add half an ounce of pineapple syrup, a quarter ounce of Cardamaro, and a three-quarter ounce of Licor 43.

And last but not least, one ounce of bourbon goes into the drink.

When you have all the ingredients ready, put everything into the shaker, shake it with some ice for ten good seconds, and pour it into a coupe.

Then pour the espresso over ice. 

You might also be interested in our guide on putting disarrono in coffee

Testing Criteria

I made Carajilo more than five times per recipe until I found the one that tasted the best. Recipes play the most significant role in the testing besides the quality of the ingredients.

If the coffee is not strong enough, it will be outshined by the liquor. Time is another crucial factor that comes into play. If I leave the ice cubes outside too long, they will lose shape, melt, and ruin the tasting profile when the coffee and liquor go in.

Why You Can Trust Me

My mom loves everything coffee-related. She’s not really into alcohol, but since I introduced Carajillo, she fell in love with this drink, and we have kept testing until we found the ones that work.

The traditional Carajillo and Bourbon Carajillo are my two favorites. One gives it a classic vibe, while the other is a fancy call when you host a Sunday party. Make sure to test out the recipes times and again until you succeed. 


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing copies about everything drink-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea.