Some may enjoy the milky taste of delicious latte, while you may be enjoying your homemade mocha. But if you’re not a fan of sweet coffee, you can try something else. 

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If you like coffee and you love rum, there’s no reason you’ll say no to a cup of Spanish coffee. This cold-weather cocktail is the best dessert drink to accompany you when you’re finishing something up late at night, or you want to relax over Netflix or a good book. With the number of coffee and coffee-flavored drinks out there, it’s hard to choose one that hits the right spot the moment you take a sip. Some may be too sweet; others might be too strong, too bubbly, or even too milky to your liking. If you’re one who prefers the bittersweet combination of espresso and rum, you have to know how to make your own Spanish coffee at home. 

Learning how to make your own Spanish coffee is as easy as making delicious coffee creamer at home or steaming milk without using a steam wand

The good thing about making your own Spanish coffee is getting to decide what kind of bean to use, when you are grinding it, and what espresso to rum ratio should be followed. Plus, you can even have your favorite dessert drink anytime, anywhere. Don’t worry if you haven’t tried making this drink in the past. Even if you don’t have a barista or expert-level knowledge and skills, you can make the best-tasting, thirst-quenching coffee you can ever ask for with the right recipe. 

But before you pick up your beans and start making espresso, it’s also good to learn about the basics. When you know where this drink originated, what’s the ratio behind its creation, and how its creator meant the drink to be served and enjoyed, you’ll appreciate the drink-making process even more. On top of that, mixing and playing with the ingredients will be easier since it’s more than etching them in your memory — you’re recreating the original process to make a drink that’s close to being authentic. 

What Is a Spanish Coffee

The definition of Spanish coffee depends mainly on where you’re drinking it. If you want authentic Spanish coffee, know that this drink is a take on the Carajillo, a traditional Spanish drink that combines espresso and rum or brandy. This drink is usually served in a heavy glass mug or wine glass. This drink is the Spanish version of Italy’s Caffe Corretto and Ireland’s mix of coffee, cream, sugar, and Irish whiskey. It’s like fortifying your coffee cup with a dash of booze. 

However, if you want the same drink’s flaming spectacle version, you’re referring to its American adaptation. This version includes more than just espresso and rum as it also adds triple sec and coffee-flavored liqueur unto the mixture that’s served in a sugar-rimmed stem glass. Once the combination is complete, some use a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar on the rim. This adds more spectacle to the beverage-making process while also neutralizing the espresso and rum combination’s bitterness. 

Benefits of Drinking Spanish Coffee

You can always enjoy a cup of Spanish coffee on any given day.  Since this drink is filled with alcohol, caffeine, and its trademark bittersweet taste, it’s a great accompaniment to any sweet dessert. It can be served as a dessert by itself, making this drink flexible. On top of that, you can experiment with the coffee beans you use to make the espresso. If you love the sweet taste of Vietnamese coffee, you can use these beans to make your Spanish coffee. If you love the full flavor of Costa Rican coffee, you can use this, too. You don’t have to be so strict with measuring the exact amount of coffee either. 

Most people think that what makes this drink different is the coffee bean used. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Spanish coffee becomes unique because of the alcohol and other ingredients. For coffee drinkers who think regular coffee is too bitter and need a splash of rum to complete their drink, choose this coffee. Spanish coffee is more than just a delicious drink —  it has characteristics that would want you to come back for more. To help you appreciate this drink even more, take a look at some of its benefits.

More Caffeine Means More Energy

We all know that chocolate covered espresso beans are energy boosters. But if you want more than that, you need to try Spanish coffee. If what you’re looking for is a drink that will keep you wide awake with the extra energy kick, this is for you. This drink has been designed to be strong in caffeine, so it will surely wake you even if you’re exhausted. If you’re making this coffee at home, it’s advisable to use stronger coffee beans for making espresso. If you don’t have a grinder, you can still use a blender, mortar, and pestle, or even your NutriBullet to break the beans up. 

After grinding your coffee, brew them as usual. It’s recommended to use at least three ounces for a standard Spanish coffee drink. Once done, you can add the coffee as the base of your drink. The purpose of adding coffee here is for coffee lovers like you to appreciate the drink’s bitterness. If you’re looking for the sweet aspect, you can also enjoy it later as the other ingredients are mixed. 

Delicious Taste That Everyone Will Love

Benefits of Drinking Spanish Coffee

Whether you’re someone with a sweet tooth or someone who enjoys bitter-tasting beverages, this drink is something you’ll grow to love. Its bitterness is not one that makes you want to puke. Instead, it’s so unique that you’ll find it pleasantly surprising how it meshes well with the sweet part. This taste is from the liquor alcohols like Amaretto or Kahlua that have been added to the mixture. Either of these substances can make the alcoholic kick still taste pleasant. If you want to increase its sweetness, you can add sugar or cream to it. Standard recipes suggest using only three ounces of coffee, but you can add more if you want it strong. It’s fully-customizable, so you can do pretty much whatever you want with it.

More Alcohol Means More Fun 

We already talked about people who want their Spanish coffee stronger, more bitter, and sweeter. They can add their preferred ingredient to achieve the taste they want. Now, if you want your coffee to be wilder, then you might as well add more alcohol to the mixture. Some coffee-based drinks play it innocent and safe, but this is not the case with Spanish coffee. You can add more than 151-proof of rum to your recipe and unleash your wild and fun side. The coffee part of the ingredient will wake you up, while the alcohol part will take care of lightening your mood quickly. As such, it’s perfect for a night out with friends, an intimate evening with your lover, or a chillout party for one. 

How Does Spanish Coffee Work

There are plenty of ways you can enjoy a cup of Spanish coffee, but your level of satisfaction from each cup will vary significantly on what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, you want to keep yourself awake to finish something up, but you’re tired, or you already developed a high tolerance to ordinary coffee, you can try a stronger version of the Spanish coffee.

Instead of only adding the standard three ounces of coffee, why not go for more while slightly tempering the alcoholic ingredient. The temper on the sweet add-ons, too. You’ll need the extra kick from the coffee to keep yourself awake through the night. The alcohol shots can also help you think fast and be more creative as you finish what you have to do. 

If you have been working so hard and you want to enjoy a bittersweet coffee-based dessert drink as you ‘Netflix and chill’ on a cold Friday night, get yourself a Spanish coffee. You can start enjoying your downtime by preparing your coffee by yourself. Go all out with the ingredients and the spectacle. Use the most luxurious heavy glass you own, apply sugar on its rim, and start brewing your coffee. Once the espresso is ready, pour it into your glass before adding the liquor and other sweet add-ons you fancy having. Once the drink is all set, set the drink in flames and watch the sugar caramelize. Enjoy as you drink the night away.

If you’re planning an intimate getaway with your partner, you can also prepare this drink to keep yourselves awake to enjoy each other’s company. You can go overboard with the liquor you add since it will be perfect to set the evening’s tone. You can also do the same when you’re planning a party with friends. If you want to have a fun and wild evening with them, this drink will help set the mood. 

There’s no need for an occasion to enjoy a warm cup of Spanish coffee. If you want to treat yourself to a fancy drink without having to go out of the house, you can make your own Spanish coffee at home. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a good book, binge-watching on your favorite series, or crying your heart out because of a sad event. This warm cup of coffee drink will be there to keep you company.  

Short History of the Spanish Coffee

We all know that cortado originates from Spain. But when people think of Spanish coffee, what comes to mind is a steaming coffee mug splashed with rum and topped with a generous amount of whipped cream. This may be true, but there is more to Spanish coffee than a drink served in a ski lodge bar. They don’t think that this coffee originated from this country. Let’s find out if this is true. 

As taught in your history class, Spanish ships used to carry coffee seeds and plants even to the most remote parts of the world — even in areas where coffee doesn’t usually thrive. Because of this, Spanish coffee thrived in countries where it’s not native. The Spanish conquistadors and their descendants finally settled in the Southern and Central parts of America, and here, they built substantial Spanish coffee plantations. 

Coffee was first introduced in Spain by Turkish immigrants. Though these coffee beans were grown in the country after that, the Spanish people innovated and developed a coffee roasting method that yields very dark and oily beans that elicit a powerful aroma. This string coffee is later known as the Dark French Roast or Spanish Roast. 

Meanwhile, the Spanish coffee bean growers in Latin America were responsible for more than 50% of the worldwide coffee export. Then again, most of the Spanish coffee served in their mother country originated from Mozambique and Angola. These variants were roasted dark to bring out its full, rich flavor. 

The Spanish coffee houses were usually elegant, elaborate gathering places characterized by ornate furniture, high ceilings, and servers in black ties and white shirts. The customers are typically appropriately dressed while enjoying a reserved coffee shop atmosphere. Because the traditional coffee houses in Spain are far from the loud and bustling coffee shops of today, it’s not sure whether they’re the first to add alcohol to coffee. 

What’s established is this practice, though a bit wild, is quite common in most Spanish coffee houses. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning or the middle of the day; liquor-infused coffee beverages are served. Furthermore, serving these rum-infused coffee drinks during cold afternoons has also originated in elegant and rich Spanish coffee houses. 

Types of Spanish Coffee

Types of Spanish Coffee

Just like your favorite cappuccino, latte, cold brew, and other coffee-based drinks, there are different varieties of Spanish coffee.

Classic Spanish Coffee Cocktail

This Spanish coffee variant is designed to be sweeter than the traditional Spanish coffee; thus, it’s a great drink to be served with your favorite sweet delicacies or desserts. Depending on your preference, you can add sweeteners like cachaca, cane sugar, lime juice, and vanilla to the usual espresso and rum combination. 

Flaming Spanish Coffee Cocktail

This is the regular Spanish coffee plus flame spectacle we’re talking about. To make this, you’ll need 151-proof rum, coffee-friendly liqueurs or spirits like Cointreau, Amaretto, or Kahlua, brewed coffee, lemon juice, spiced sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whipped cream. As soon as you add the mixture to your Irish mug or other hot-resistant glassware, you can start setting the drink in flame. 

4 Ingredient Spanish Coffee Cocktail

As the drink’s name suggests, you only need four ingredients to make this coffee, and these are — coffee, sugar, coffee liquor, and whipped cream. Mix the first three ingredients in your stemmed glass and add a generous amount of whipped cream on top.

Bacardi Spanish Coffee

You’ll need Tia Maria coffee spirits and Bacardi rum for this. Add these two ingredients to your regular Spanish coffee before garnishing your drink with whipped cream and cherry.

Spanish Carajilllo Coffee

According to the avid Spanish coffee fans out there, this is the Spanish coffee for grownups since it’s more complex to make and most intense in taste. For this drink, you’ll need Jamaican rum, Grand Marnier, House Spirits Coffee Liqueur, brown sugar, freshly brewed coffee, and heavy cream. You’ll need to mix the whipped cream and Grand Marnier in a cocktail shaker. After that, you’ll have to add the Hawthorne shaker’s coil before dry shaking the mixture for ten seconds without ice. Next, you’ll need to pour the mixture into your glass before caramelizing the sugar on the rim.

Tipsy Spanish Coffee

From the word tipsy, you understand that this drink uses more alcoholic beverages than usual Spanish coffee. With its stronger alcoholic content, this drink is perfect for social get-togethers.

Espresso and Brandy Spanish Coffee

This type of coffee drink is also known as a digestif and an after-dinner drink. Its name suggests that this drink is just like your ordinary Spanish coffee, except that the liquor used is brandy. 

Iced Spanish Coffee

Again, this is just like your ordinary Spanish coffee, except that it’s iced. Most coffee drinkers who concoct their own iced Spanish coffee add Kahlua triple sec to the rum and chilled coffee mixture. The glass is also rimmed with cinnamon for that strong aromatic touch. 

Spanish Cafe Con Leche

To make the traditional, authentic cafe con Leche, you only need to mix scalded milk and espresso in a 1:1 ratio. You can also add sugar to make the drink sweet. Cafe con Leche is the Spanish term for coffee with milk. 

Spanish Cafe Con Leche

How to Make Spanish Coffee 

Step 1 – Prepare all your ingredients

The first thing you need to do is prepare the following ingredients: three ounces brewed coffee, one to two ounces 151-proof rum, one to two ounces of coffee liqueur, lemon wedge, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, and whipped cream. 

Step 2 – Rim your heavy glass with sugar or cinnamon

This is more than just a presentation. The rimmed sugar will be caramelized later to sweeten the coffee. You can also use the lemon along with the sugar for an authentic bittersweet taste. 

Step 3 – Pour the rum

The mixture’s base is rum, so make sure to fill your heavy glass with your rum of choice. 

Step 4 – Light the rum

As mentioned above, you need to caramelize the sugar and lemon to sweeten the mixture, so with the use of a long match or barbecue lighter, set the rum on fire. While the rum is on fire, gently swirl the glass with the wine to caramelize the sugar. 

Step 5 – Add the coffee and sprinkles

As soon as you see the sugar caramelize, pour your coffee, coffee liqueur, and sprinkle the mixture with nutmeg and cinnamon. You can garnish it with whipped cream. 


How to Make Flaming Spanish Coffee 

If you think Spanish coffee is not spectacular and exciting enough, add more gusto to your next Spanish coffee experience by setting it in flame. Here is a simple step-by-step guide you can follow. 

Step 1 – Prepare all your ingredients

The first thing you need to do is prepare the following ingredients: four ounces coffee, 151-proof rum, one to two ounces of Tia Maria or coffee liqueur, cinnamon, nutmeg, wedge lemon, superfine sugar, and whipped cream. You’ll also need a long-stem glass, long match, or long barbecue match for the flaming. 

Step 2 – Rim your heavy glass with sugar or cinnamon

Like the usual Spanish coffee, you also need to rub sugar and lemon on the rim of the glass. The rimmed sugar will be caramelized later to sweeten the coffee. Make the rimming even to spread the sugar. 

Step 3 – Brew your coffee

You can choose the bean you like and enjoy your favorite type of coffee. 

Step 4 – Pour the rum and torch it

The mixture’s base is still the rum, so make sure to fill your heavy glass with your rum of choice. After that, you can already light it up. Instead of the long match, you can also use the creme brulee torch to caramelize your sugar. After that, put the flame out. 

Step 5 – Add the coffee and sprinkles

As soon as you see the sugar caramelize, pour your coffee, coffee liqueur, and sprinkle the mixture with nutmeg and cinnamon. You can garnish it with whipped cream. 


Do’s and Don’ts With Spanish Coffee



  • Delay making Spanish coffee until you can get an espresso machine. 
  • Disregard the ratio behind making the coffee and the maker’s idea of how it should be enjoyed. 
  • Know the effects of the ingredients when added together. 
  • Overdose on espresso shots and liquor. 
  • Refuse to mind what ingredients you add to the mixture.

FAQ About Spanish coffee

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about Spanish coffee:

Who invented Spanish Coffee?

As mentioned above, because the traditional coffee houses in Spain are far from the loud and bustling coffee shops of today, it’s not sure whether they’re the first to add alcohol to coffee. However, what’s established is this practice, though a bit wild, is quite common in most Spanish coffee houses. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning or the middle of the day; liquor-infused coffee beverages are served. Furthermore, serving these rum-infused coffee drinks during cold afternoons has also originated in elegant and rich Spanish coffee houses. 

How many calories are in Spanish Coffee?

It depends on the add-ons that you mixed to the generic espresso and rum mixture. The slightly sweetened generic Spanish coffee only contains 284 calories per 179 grams of serving. It has 37 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fat. However, the calorie count will increase if you add more sweeteners, creamers, milk, and whipped or heavy cream. 

What does Carajillo mean?

Carajillo is the name of the Spanish drink that combines coffee with anisette, whisky, or brandy. This drink is typical of Spain and originated from Cuba when it was still a Spanish province. 

Can you make Spanish Coffee with triple sec?

Triple sec is a strong, colorless, sweet orange-flavored liqueur that can be consumed alone or added to cocktail drinks. This is also one of the main ingredients of Spanish coffee as it has 15 to 40% alcohol per volume. 

What alcohol is good for coffee?

The taste and strength of the coffee are personal, so it depends on what kind of alcohol you want to mix with your coffee. However, coffee enthusiasts and baristas worldwide believe that these twelve spirits are best paired with coffee — Frangelico, Amaretto, Kahlúa, Grand Marnier, Baileys Irish Cream, Chocolate Liqueur, Butterscotch Schnapps, Bourbon, Brandy, Chambord, Aquavit, and Fernet-Branca.


The good thing about making your own coffee drink at home is getting to decide what gets into your coffee, the drink’s strength, and enjoying the drink anytime. With Spanish coffee, all you need to determine is the best alcohol or liqueur spirits that will taste well with your chosen mixture, and that’s it. Once you get the hang of the whole coffee-making experience, even mixing the complex and high-level Spanish Carajillo coffee becomes a walk in the park. 

Photos from: AndrisMaster /, igorr1 / and Ivenks /