Coffee liqueurs seem to be a mainstay for any bar or indeed your own drinks cabinet. Easy enough to digest after a hearty meal, or just to have when the mood captures you, coffee liqueurs can do no wrong. Even when sided with cocktails such as the White Russian (or black if you prefer) or Espresso Martini, the versatility of this liqueur really showcases its qualities. Although I bet if you ever thought of a coffee liqueur, you would more than likely name Tia Maria. Nothing wrong with this, but if you ever scan a bar or restaurant, another brand may keep popping up and going by the name of Kahlúa.
The vibrant state of Veracruz, Mexico is home to Kahlúa, the region that is known for its rich culture and traditions, and the premium 100% Arabica coffee and sugarcane – two ingredients that blend very well when Kahlúa is brought into the coffee liqueur category. But it actually takes seven years to create Kahlúa with the process of growing, harvesting, drying and aging, distilling and finally roasting and blending.
Here’s a step-by-step guide so to speak of how Kahlúa comes about, taken directly from the Kahlúa website -
Growing – Kahlúa is crafted from the finest ingredients that grow side by side in rural Veracruz, Mexico—shade grown, hand-selected 100% Arabica coffee beans and sugarcane.
Harvesting – High in the mountains of Veracruz, the coffee is handpicked during the October to March harvest season. The red coffee cherries are then pulped and processed to extract what we know as the coffee bean.
Drying and Aging – Beans are air-dried and the papery external layer called the husk is removed. The dried coffee is aged for at least six months in 50-kilogram burlap bags to develop the ideal taste profile. The beans are now ready for roasting.
Distilling – Stalks are crushed, juice is collected and boiled into a molasses, then yeast and water are mixed and left to ferment. Once sugar is converted into alcohol, the spirit undergoes a distillation process until it reaches proof, then stored in barrels.
Roasting and Blending – After seven years the coffee and sugarcane meet again in our Kahlúa distillery. The coffee is roasted in micro-lots, ground to extract the perfect flavor. The extract is combined with our fine sugarcane spirit, vanilla and caramel, then rested for eight weeks before being filtered and bottled.
Seven years is a long time, so lets see how it fares . Below, I give to you my tasting notes -
Kahlúa – 20%
Strong coffee aroma on the nose, rather sweet with a freshness dominating. Thick texture on the palate, with a slight sweetness and a lingering coffee flavour to begin with, but becomes more dominant as it follows on the long finish.
As mentioned, Kahlúa also goes well with a variety of cocktails -
30 ml Kahlúa
25 ml Absolut vodka
25 ml fresh brewed espresso
Fill a shaker with ice, add Kahlúa, Absolut and a fresh brewed espresso. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled martini glass.
25 ml Kahlúa
25 ml Absolut vodka
Fill a rocks glass with ice, add Kahlúa and Absolut and stir.
Simple, easy, enjoyable. Create at home or ask your bartender and savour two cocktails that are seen in most bars, especially after dinner. Kahlúa gives a different take on the coffee liqueur category, and its versatility in cocktails, mixers or just over ice means that although it’s not got the marketing power of Tia Maria, it’s a bartenders best friend.
You can purchase a bottle here and look out for future flavours including French Vanilla, Mocha and Midnight – a blend of rum and Kahlúa.
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