How Do You Make Café Asiatico?

You deserve a delicious boozy cup of Joe like Café Asiatico to help yourself relax. But what exactly is it, and how do you make Café Asiatico at home? Read more to find out.

Café Asiatico is one of the most popular alcoholic coffee drinks

Have you ever tried getting drunk on coffee? This “drunk feeling” may lead to caffeine intoxication if you consume 1000 mg of caffeine in one sitting. It’s become a trend because mixing caffeine with alcohol can hide the effects of alcohol and keep a person feeling sober to party all night.

Café Asiatico is one of the most popular alcoholic coffee drinks. It’s easy to make and tastes great.

Café Asiatico: Brief History

There are two conflicting stories about how Café Asiatico originated. The first is that Café Asiatico was served in the 1940s at a bar called Pedrin in Cartagena, Spain. 

The second is it already existed in Cartagena under the name “Ruso,” which means Russian. Then it was changed to “Asiatico” due to political connotations. Whichever is true, what’s important is that Café Asiatico paved the way for Cartagena to be well-known in Spain and worldwide.

The recipe of Café Asiatico used today was made by Pedrin’s bar owner Pedro Conesa Ortega. However, this drink was already in the region because of the local fishermen. Their version contained “Recuelo,” a poor-quality coffee, milk, and brandy that they drink to keep them warm and awake while fishing. 

In 1945, Jose Diaz Company became the sole manufacturer of the Asiatico glass, a short thick glass with a slim body and wide mouth that can handle the heat of the coffee. Since then, the drink became popular with sailors from Asia to order on their arrival in Spain. 

What’s In Café Asiatico

The original recipe of this beverage consists of hot brewed coffee, condensed milk, brandy, and a few drops of Licor 43. It was also served with roasted coffee beans, a lemon rind, and cinnamon to elevate its aroma. If you use this traditional recipe, you can use any brandy such as Cognac and remove the cinnamon but not the Licor 43.

Licor 43 is the main ingredient of Café Asiatico

Licor 43 is the main ingredient of this drink. It’s a local liquor developed from a secret family recipe in Spain. This premium alcohol is made with 43 different ingredients like Mediterranean citrus fruits, vanilla, and other types of herbs and spices.


If you like the bitter taste of coffee, you may not be so fond of Café Asiatico. Because of Licor 43, Café Asiatico boasts sharp, warm, and complex notes. It also complements espresso’s bitterness thanks to the diffused condensed milk. 

Without adding it to any beverage, the authentic taste of Licor 43 is sweet and aromatic. Licor 43 has a powerful scent and taste of vanilla, orange peel, cocoa, and cinnamon. It’s one of the perfect alcohols to add to your cup of Joe and other drinks like Carajillo, another alcoholic coffee from Spain that also uses Licor 43.

Alcohol Content

With or without alcohol in your coffee, a person can experience feeling drunk because of caffeine. In addition to the caffeine in Café Asiatico, it also has brandy and Licor 43, which increases the total alcohol content per serving. 

Brandy is a distilled wine with an average ABV of 35% to 60%. Because of its high ABV content, Cognac, with only 40% ABV, is recommended to add to Café Asiatico instead. 

Licor 43, on the other hand, has 31% alcohol by volume, which is still lower than whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka. However, this is for ABV only. Plus, the alcohol content of each drink depends on the recipe and how much you will drink.

Check out our round-up of the best Liquor for coffee for recommendations.

How To Make Café Asiatico

You can still use the traditional recipe by Ortega to experience the original taste of Café Asiatico. But if you want to add more ingredients and make it a little modern, follow this simple recipe and enjoy Café Asiatico whenever you want at home.


  • 20 ml Licor 43 
  • 20 ml brandy (Cognac)
  • 60 ml condensed milk
  • Espresso shot
  • Two coffee beans
  • Cinnamon 
  • Lemon peel or slice
  • Evaporated milk or whipped cream


  1. Grab a glass and ensure it’s thick enough to endure the heat.
  2. Pour the condensed milk, brandy, and Licor 43 into the glass in the correct order to get the layered effect. Use a spoon to add each ingredient.
  3. Prepare the hot espresso and carefully add it to the mix.
  4. Add whipped cream or evaporated milk on top. Froth the milk to add texture or foam.
  5. Use the cinnamon powder, coffee beans, and lemon peel or slice as garnish.

Mixing Caffeine And Alcohol

Caffeine makes you stay awake and energetic, while alcohol is a depressant that will make you feel sleepy. When you mix the two, caffeine will mask the effect of alcohol and can make you feel more sober, alert, and energetic than usual. This effect is why many drinkers continue to brew or drink alcoholic coffee despite warnings from the CDC.

Caffeine will mask the effect of alcohol and can make you feel more alert and energetic

However, your blood pressure will rise if you mix caffeine and alcohol. The risk of heart attack, stroke, and diseases will also increase. Note that this is not only for coffee but all caffeinated drinks like soda and energy drinks. 

So if you like to party, this mix will be in your favor, but it is still not recommended. Without the alcoholic effects, it will make you drink more, and the risk of injury and alcohol poisoning will increase.

Is It Safe To Drink Café Asiatico?

Drinking coffee or tea at least two hours before drinking alcohol will do nothing because the effect of caffeine stays in your system for five to six hours. You should avoid mixing caffeine and alcohol, but occasionally drinking Café Asiatico is okay.

Be wary of the effects of alcohol and caffeine, and drink moderately.

FAQs About Café Asiatico

How Do You Make Café Asiatico?

It’s easy to make Café Asiatico. Prepare the ingredients needed and use a heat-resistant glass. 

Layer the condensed milk, brandy, Licor 43, and coffee into the glass. Adding cinnamon, coffee beans, and lemon slice on top is a must, but you can also add evaporated milk or whipped cream if you want.

What Liquor Is 43?

Licor 43, also known as Cuarenta Y Tres, is a vanilla-flavored Spanish liquor made with 43 kinds of herbs and spices. It’s a very popular secret family recipe from Spain and is widely enjoyed in Europe. Licor 43 is a type of alcohol used as the main ingredient for alcoholic coffee like Carajilo and Café Asiatico.


  • Maria Caballero

    Writer and coffee lover, Maria Caballero, is fond of visiting new cafes and trying current trends involving caffeine. She shares amusing experiences to fellow coffee enthusiasts who wants to explore the world of coffee.