Kahlua, Mexico’s Finest Liqueur

Kahlua, Mexico’s Finest Liqueur

Liqueurs belong to the group of after-dinner alcoholic beverages that can almost take the place of a dessert; not only are they sweet, satisfying and rich, they can also help digest a heavy meal. Liqueurs have been around for a long time, with some of the most famous originating from European monasteries during the medieval times, which explains why the liqueurs that have been on the market for centuries have religious-themed names, such as Benedictine or Frangelico.

One of the world’s most beloved liqueurs however, is not European at all and is a bit of a newcomer in the millennia-old liqueur industry; Mexico’s finest liqueur Kahlua. This coffee flavored, rum-based liqueur has almost become synonymous with the country and is usually taken by itself neat or is mixed in a variety of cocktails; one of the most popular ways to drink it is to add a shot or two of it to a nice hot cup of coffee. Both coffee and liqueur experts agree that Kahlua amplifies the flavour of coffee and can turn plain coffee into a flavor experience.

Kahlua isn’t really an old beverage; it fact production started in the mid-1930’s by Pedro Domecq. As most people familiar with the Spanish language will have noticed, the name of the liqueur isn’t particularly Spanish; the name Kahlua comes from the Veracruz Nahuatl (the language of Mexico before the Spanish Conquest in the late 1400’ and early 1500’s) words which mean “House of the Acolhua People”.

Kahlua has an alcohol content of 20%; however there are some areas where it can contain up to 21.5% alcohol by volume. There is also another version of the famous drink which is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and some select duty-free shops called Kahlua Especial. This version is made only with Veracruz-grown Arabica coffee beans, has an alcohol content of 36%, has less of a syrupy consistency and is less sweet.

Kahlua is no ordinary coffee-flavored liqueur; other companies have tried to produce a liqueur that is comparable, but almost all Kahlua aficionados can tell when their cocktails or after-dinner digestifs have been replaced with an imitator. The flavor of competing products is less intense, tastes more sugary, and at times the taste can even be a bit bitter due to the coffee used to make the liqueur. Simply put, Kahlua is the best and that is the reason why it can be found around the globe.

As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to enjoy Kahlua: a drop in a cup of coffee or a cup of nice hot chocolate can make a miserable, cold and rainy day seem much more enjoyable. However, Kahlua makes for some great cocktails, and the recipes that follow are just a few of the hundreds that are out there.

Brown Cow

1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
2 oz milk or half & half cream

Simply pour the ingredients over ice, stir and enjoy.

Monkey’s Lunch

1 short glass full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz Crème de Bananes liqueur
2 oz milk

Pour the ingredients over ice, stir and enjoy

Dark Depths

1 tall glass, full of ice
1 oz Kahlua
½ oz crème de cacao (can be white or dark)
½ oz rum
Milk or cream.

Pour the Kahlua, crème de cacao and rum over ice, then fill the glass almost to the top with Coca-Cola. Top with milk or cream.

Black Russian

1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz vodka

Pour ingredients over ice, and give a quick stir. To make a Black Mexican, simply substitute tequila for the vodka.

White Russian

1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz vodka
3 or 4 oz of milk or cream

Pour all ingredients over ice, and give a quick stir. To make a Cool Russian, substitute mint vodka for the plain vodka.


1 shot glass
½ oz Kahlua
½ oz Grand Marnier
½ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Pour the Kahlua in the drink first, then slowly pour in the Bailey’s Irish Cream, but pour it over a spoon so that it layers on top of the Kahlua. Pour in the Grand Marnier, but remember that this also needs to be poured over a spoon so that it will float on top of the Bailey’s. To make a B-52 coffee, simply pour the ingredients into a cup of coffee.

Spanish Coffee

1 coffee mug with a sugar rim
1.5 oz Kahlua
½ oz rum
Whipped cream and an orange slice for garnish

Pour the ingredients in a coffee mug with a sugar rim, and place two or three spoonfuls of whipped cream on top, and place the orange slice on the rim.

The Polar Bear

1 coffee mug with a sugar rim
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz mint vodka
Hot chocolate
Whipped cream and an orange slice for garnish

Pour the Kahlua, and mint vodka in a mug with a sugar rim, and add hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with a slice of orange on the side of the mug.

Kahlua has become an essential ingredient in bars that specialize in cocktails the world over. From Beijing to Quintana Roo, from Vancouver to Vladivostok, it is perhaps the most famous liqueur and once you have a try of it, you’ll see why it’s beloved by so many people. If you haven’t tried it, there’s no time like now to have a taste of the planet’s best coffee liqueur.

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