Spanish Coffee

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim. Have you tried the revelation that is Spanish coffee? Flaming Spanish coffee, that is? The name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually an American spin on the Spanish concept of carajillo: spiked coffee. But this drink is extra-special. It’s got a caramelized sugar rim and is spiked with Kahlua, rum, and orange liqueur…and topped with hand-whipped fluffy whipped cream! The burnt caramel, citrus, bitter coffee and sweet cream all combine into a literal symphony of flavor. You’ve gotta try this one! What is Spanish coffee? Why’s it called Spanish coffee, when it’s really American? Well, the concept of spiked coffee spans cultures and liquors, from traditional Irish coffee to amaretto coffee. The Spanish version of spiked coffee is called carajillo, and it’s popular in Spain and Latin American countries like Cuba, Colombia and Mexico. Each country uses its own liqueur; in Spain it’s brandy; in Mexico it’s Licor 43, a bright yellow vanilla liqueur. Spanish coffee is an American adaptation of the carajillo, invented at Huber’s Bar in Portland, Oregon. The drink is made tableside by lighting […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim.

Spanish coffee

Have you tried the revelation that is Spanish coffee? Flaming Spanish coffee, that is? The name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually an American spin on the Spanish concept of carajillo: spiked coffee. But this drink is extra-special. It’s got a caramelized sugar rim and is spiked with Kahlua, rum, and orange liqueur…and topped with hand-whipped fluffy whipped cream! The burnt caramel, citrus, bitter coffee and sweet cream all combine into a literal symphony of flavor. You’ve gotta try this one!

What is Spanish coffee?

Why’s it called Spanish coffee, when it’s really American? Well, the concept of spiked coffee spans cultures and liquors, from traditional Irish coffee to amaretto coffee. The Spanish version of spiked coffee is called carajillo, and it’s popular in Spain and Latin American countries like Cuba, Colombia and Mexico. Each country uses its own liqueur; in Spain it’s brandy; in Mexico it’s Licor 43, a bright yellow vanilla liqueur.

Spanish coffee is an American adaptation of the carajillo, invented at Huber’s Bar in Portland, Oregon. The drink is made tableside by lighting high proof rum on fire to caramelize the glass’s sugar rim. Then the glass is filled with coffee, Kahlua and Triple Sec, and topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. It’s a true dramatic spectacle designed to put on a show: and we’ll admit this drink is totally worthy of it.

Spanish coffee recipe

Ingredients & equipment for Spanish coffee

Here are the ingredients and equipment you’ll need to make a Spanish coffee recipe at home. We’ve created a method that’s easiest for home preparation of this flaming drink: but there are a few different options! The Spanish coffee ingredients are:

  • Coffee: any strong coffee will do, using your favorite brewing method
  • Kahlua or any coffee liqueur like Tia Maria
  • Triple Sec or any orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • Rum: use aged rum for the home method, or 151 rum for the bar method
  • Sugar and a lemon: to make the rim
  • Homemade whipped cream: you’ll need heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar, or use vegan whipped cream for vegan
  • Kitchen torch for home method (here’s a good one), lighter for bar method

How to make the caramelized rim… two methods!

This Spanish coffee recipe calls for lighting rum on fire to make the caramelized glass rim. Now, we’re always up for playing with fire at home (safely, mind you). But when we tried this trick using our thick glass Irish coffee mug, it shattered when the coffee was poured in! The flaming method also takes a bit of practice, and it’s not practical for a crowd.

Because of this, we prefer to use a kitchen torch for our method: like the kind you’d use to caramelize crème brulee. Here’s more about the two methods:

  • The best method for homemade Spanish coffee is a kitchen torch. This ensures your glass won’t break (like ours did)! It’s also safer, which is a big plus. And it’s faster and easier to make multiple servings for a crowd.
  • Don’t have a kitchen torch? Here’s the kitchen torch we use and it’s only $15. You can also just skip the caramelized rim altogether: it’s still extra delicious without it. Or, try the bar method…
  • The traditional bar method uses 151 rum and a lighter. If you want to try the traditional method, go for it! To get it to light you’ll need 151 rum, a higher proof alcohol than the standard. Go to the recipe below for our pointers! Use a thin glass so the caramelization happens quickly; thicker glasses take longer, get hotter, and then have the possibility of shattering like ours did.

Note: If you end up buying a kitchen torch, you can use it for so many things! Try it for caramelizing creme brulee, charring crust on a pizza to look like a wood-fired oven (our favorite trick!), or melting cheese on nachos (to add smoky flavor).

Kahlua

Homemade whipped cream: a few tips

Sure, you can buy Cool Whip. But if you’re going to the trouble of making a Spanish coffee recipe, homemade whipped cream takes it up a notch! You’ll just need heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to sweeten it. it takes only a minute or two to whisk up by hand. Or, you can use coconut cream or coconut milk as a dairy-free option. Here are the various methods:

  • Classic whipped cream: Use this Homemade Whipped Cream recipe. Make sure to use the freshest of cream, which whips the fastest and has the best texture. (Old cream gets too dense.) Whip it to soft peaks, which makes just the right texture for floating on top of a drink. When you add it to the top, do so over the back of a spoon, which helps it to balance on top.
  • Dairy-free whipped cream: Use this Dairy Free Whipped Cream recipe. Keep in mind you’ll need to refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk overnight. Or, you can substitute coconut cream with no need for refrigeration.
Spanish coffee

How to make Spanish coffee

Now that you’ve got your kitchen torch and selected your whipped cream method…this Spanish coffee recipe is a breeze! Here’s the general outline of the steps (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Make your coffee.
  • Make the whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  • Rim the edge of the glass with a 1/2-inch band of sugar. This allows for maximum burnt caramel flavor. Or, skip this step: the drink will still taste delicious!
  • Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. It should take just a minute or so.
  • Add coffee, Kahlua, Triple Sec and rum.
  • Top with whipped cream. Again, adding it over the back of a spoon helps it to float on top. Enjoy!

Variation that’s even easier: the Carajillo!

If you like this Spanish coffee recipe, you’ll love a Mexican-style Carajillo. As we mentioned, Spanish coffee is actually an American adaptation of this Spanish invention. But Carajillo is also very popular in Mexico, where they spike the coffee with Licor 43 instead of brandy.

Licor 43 is a bright yellow vanilla liqueur made with 43 herbs and spices. Add it to coffee, and it’s got loads of nuance and intrigue. If you top with whipped cream like the Spanish coffee, the two taste very similar. We’d highly recommend giving it a try: or making it instead of this recipe if you’re scared off by the caramelized rim. Go to Carajillo (Mexican Spiked Coffee).

Spanish coffee recipe

More after dinner drinks

There are so many other tasty after dinner and dessert drinks to try in addition to Spanish coffee! Here are some favorites:

When to serve Spanish coffee

Spanish coffee is a showy dessert drink for sipping on after a meal! Serve it as a:

  • After dinner drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Signature drink
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
Print
Spanish coffee

Spanish Coffee


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim.


Ingredients

  • 3 ounces* coffee
  • 2 ounces Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 ounce aged rum (or white or dark)
  • Granulated sugar, for dipping the glass
  • Lemon wedge
  • 1 large spoonful sweetened whipped cream (or vegan whipped cream), whipped to soft peaks
  • For the garnish: grated chocolate or fresh grated or ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Make the coffee. Allow it to cool slightly while preparing the drink.
  2. Make the homemade whipped cream, whipping it to soft peaks.
  3. Use a lemon wedge to wet a 1/2-inch of the rim of the glass and dip the outside in sugar to make a 1/2-inch band. 
  4. Use a kitchen torch** to caramelize the outside of the glass until the sugar turns brown. 
  5. Add the coffee, Kahlua, triple sec and rum and stir once. 
  6. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon. Garnish with grated chocolate or nutmeg.

Notes

*If converting to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

**The traditional method is to place 3/4 ounce 151 rum in the glass first, light it on fire, and tilt the glass to allow the sugar to caramelize. This method doesn’t require a torch, but if you use a thicker glass like an Irish coffee mug it can shatter (which happened to us!). The torch method is safer and makes it easier to serve this drink for multiple people. You can also omit the sugar rim if you prefer; the flavor is still great. Or, you can try the traditional method at your own risk; if you do, add the 151 rum, caramelize the edge, then add the coffee, Kahlua, and Triple Sec (omit the aged rum).

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Spanish coffee

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Raspberry Martini

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink. Here’s a sweet cocktail with a vibrant color: the Raspberry Martini! This drink is stunning and full of bright berry flavor: from first sip, you’ll be sold! The sweet tart, lightly floral flavor of raspberry is beautifully pure, thanks to homemade raspberry syrup. This cocktail is perfect for a romantic dinner, girls night, Valentine’s Day, or really any occasion that needs a red drink. It’s on the sweeter side, but the zing of fresh lemon balances it perfectly. A few more sweet cocktails? Try the Chocolate Martini or Classic Mudslide. What’s in a raspberry martini? The raspberry martini is one in a long list of flavored vodka martinis. This family of drinks has almost nothing in common with the Classic Martini…except the glass! The classic martini stars ultra-dry gin and vermouth, and has a bitter burn on the finish. Vodka martinis became popular in the 1990’s, and they’re every flavor of sweet and fruity: think cucumber, watermelon, or chocolate. Some vodka martinis have official definitions set by the International Bartender’s Association, like the lemon drop martini and espresso martini. All other […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink.

Raspberry Martini

Here’s a sweet cocktail with a vibrant color: the Raspberry Martini! This drink is stunning and full of bright berry flavor: from first sip, you’ll be sold! The sweet tart, lightly floral flavor of raspberry is beautifully pure, thanks to homemade raspberry syrup. This cocktail is perfect for a romantic dinner, girls night, Valentine’s Day, or really any occasion that needs a red drink. It’s on the sweeter side, but the zing of fresh lemon balances it perfectly.

A few more sweet cocktails? Try the Chocolate Martini or Classic Mudslide.

What’s in a raspberry martini?

The raspberry martini is one in a long list of flavored vodka martinis. This family of drinks has almost nothing in common with the Classic Martini…except the glass! The classic martini stars ultra-dry gin and vermouth, and has a bitter burn on the finish. Vodka martinis became popular in the 1990’s, and they’re every flavor of sweet and fruity: think cucumber, watermelon, or chocolate.

Some vodka martinis have official definitions set by the International Bartender’s Association, like the lemon drop martini and espresso martini. All other vodka martini recipes are up to the mixologist, so the ingredients vary. Here’s what’s in our spin on a raspberry martini cocktail:

  • Vodka
  • Cranberry juice (not sweetened*)
  • Lemon juice
  • Raspberry syrup (homemade is best, or use purchased)
Raspberry cocktail

It’s best with homemade raspberry syrup!

This raspberry martini cocktail gets its beautifully sweet flavor from raspberry syrup! We highly recommend making the fresh syrup because it has the best, pure berry flavor. Note that you’ll need to make it in advance: but it only takes 10 minutes of hands on time. Mix up a batch and have it ready to go for shaking up the drink. Here are the basic steps:

  • Melt sugar: Place 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 1 minute until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add berries and simmer: Add 1/2 cup fresh raspberries and cook until the berries break down, about 5 to 6 minutes, turning the heat to low when it starts to boil. Break down the berries with a spatula as needed. Once fully liquid, strain into a jar using a fine mesh sieve and a spatula.
  • Cool: Allow to cool, then store refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

More uses for raspberry syrup? Make a Clover Club, or serve it over pancakes or mug cake.

Raspberry syrup

Use purchased raspberry syrup in a pinch

Don’t have time to make raspberry syrup? You can find it at your local liquor store, or online. It’s best with this homemade syrup, but store-bought works in a pinch.

Find unsweetened cranberry juice

The only other thing to note about ingredients: this raspberry cocktail recipe uses 100% unsweetened cranberry juice. It’s easy to find at your local grocery these days, but be careful when you’re picking it out from the shelf. There are several different types of cranberry juice you’ll see:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. We prefer…
  • 100% cranberry juice is preferred here! The benefits of this type? The color is brighter and you can sweeten your drink to taste.

What if all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice? Easy. Just use only 1/2 ounce of the raspberry syrup instead of 3/4 ounce. Then you can adjust the flavors by adding more raspberry syrup to taste.

Raspberry martini

How to make a raspberry martini: basic steps

Got all your ingredients? Let’s make this raspberry cocktail! Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Shake: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls ice and shake until cold. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar with top.
  2. Strain: Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a few more fresh raspberries to be fancy.

More red cocktails!

This raspberry martini is a stunning naturally red cocktail: and there are lots more where that comes from! Cranberry, pomegranate, strawberry, and blood orange also make for brilliantly bright red drinks. Here are a few more favorites:

When to serve a raspberry martini

The raspberry martini recipe works as a signature drink, perfect for special occasions. Serve it as a:

Print

Raspberry Martini


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink. 


Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce* 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened**)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry syrup (homemade is best, or use purchased)
  • For the garnish: fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and serve. 

Notes

*1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

**If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail, use 1/2 ounce raspberry syrup, then add more to taste. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Raspberry martini

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Chai

Traditional chai tea recipe, prepared with full-bodied black tea, star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, cardamom, whole milk and sugar. Continue reading “Chai” »

Traditional chai tea recipe, prepared with full-bodied black tea, star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, cardamom, whole milk and sugar.

Continue reading "Chai" »

Grape Smoothie

This grape smoothie recipe is tangy sweet with just 4 ingredients! It’s an easy breakfast or snack that’s a great use for frozen grapes. On our way to making smoothie recipes with all the fruits and vegetables, we met a smoothie that surprised us. This weirdly delicious Grape Smoothie! The flavor is such a pop of sweet tart and delicious, you might not believe it on first sip. Who knew frozen grapes were the key to the tastiest of all smoothies? Consider us impressed. This one stood out to us in our list of 30+ smoothies as a simple, easy and healthy way to feel like you’re eating a treat. Here’s what you need to know to make it! Ingredients in a grape smoothie This grape smoothie is ultra simple: in fact, it’s got one of the shortest ingredient lists for any of our smoothie recipes. Here’s what you need: Grapes: We prefer the sweet flavor of red grapes in this smoothie! If you have green grapes, you can certainly use them too. They’re a little more tart, so you could add a little honey or maple syrup as necessary. Banana: No need for frozen banana: use a room temperature […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This grape smoothie recipe is tangy sweet with just 4 ingredients! It’s an easy breakfast or snack that’s a great use for frozen grapes.

Grape Smoothie

On our way to making smoothie recipes with all the fruits and vegetables, we met a smoothie that surprised us. This weirdly delicious Grape Smoothie! The flavor is such a pop of sweet tart and delicious, you might not believe it on first sip. Who knew frozen grapes were the key to the tastiest of all smoothies? Consider us impressed. This one stood out to us in our list of 30+ smoothies as a simple, easy and healthy way to feel like you’re eating a treat. Here’s what you need to know to make it!

Ingredients in a grape smoothie

This grape smoothie is ultra simple: in fact, it’s got one of the shortest ingredient lists for any of our smoothie recipes. Here’s what you need:

  • Grapes: We prefer the sweet flavor of red grapes in this smoothie! If you have green grapes, you can certainly use them too. They’re a little more tart, so you could add a little honey or maple syrup as necessary.
  • Banana: No need for frozen banana: use a room temperature banana here.
  • Greek yogurt: We love adding Greek yogurt to smoothies because it’s protein packed. You can also make this smoothie vegan by simply adding more non-dairy milk.
  • Milk: You can use any type of milk you’d like here, or if you don’t stock it, substitute water.
Grape smoothie

Allow 2 hours for frozen grapes (or overnight)

Are frozen grapes good for smoothies? Yes! Frozen grapes are perfect for adding an icy texture and sweetness to smoothies. They’re a bit sweeter than frozen blueberries and strawberries, which makes them great for adding to smoothie flavors of all kinds. Add them to your next blueberry smoothie or strawberry smoothie to mix it up!

How long does it take grapes to freeze? Allow about 2 hours for grapes to freeze completely. It’s also easy to toss them into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.

Flavor variations and add-ins!

This grape smoothie is a great canvas for adding interesting flavors to your puree. In fact, we can think of about 100 variations. Here are some favorites:

  • PB&J: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter for a PB&J vibe
  • Vanilla: Add 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Berries: Substitute 1 cup frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries for half of the grapes
  • Mango: Substitute 1 cup frozen mango for half of the grapes
  • Pineapple: Substitute 1 cup frozen pineapple for half of the grapes
  • Coconut: Add a handful of shredded coconut or coconut milk
  • Chocolate: Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Grape smoothie recipe

Make it a vegan grape smoothie (& add protein!)

This grape smoothie has Greek yogurt, like many of our smoothie recipes, to load on protein and healthy probiotics. But want a vegan smoothie? Here’s what to do:

  • Use non-dairy milk for the Greek yogurt and milk (start with 3/4 cup). You don’t need Greek yogurt here: though it does add some creamy body! Use a non-dairy milk like almond milk or oat milk. Coconut milk also works, but it’s high fat: consider using just 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup almond or oat milk.
  • Add back some protein! You’ll lose some protein from removing the yogurt. Here are some ideas for adding plant based protein to smoothies:
Grape smoothie

Smoothie storage

This grape smoothie is best right after you blend it up. But you can make smoothies in advance! Store them up to 1 day, refrigerated in a sealed container or a mason jar with the lid on. If it separates, just shake it up and you’re good to go!

This grape smoothie recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the substitutions listed in the recipe.

Print
Grape Smoothie

Grape Smoothie (4 Ingredients!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 small or 1 large
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This grape smoothie recipe is tangy sweet with just 4 ingredients! It’s an easy breakfast or snack that’s a great use for frozen grapes.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, frozen at least 2 hours or overnight
  • 1 banana (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or almond milk or oat milk)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or 1/4 cup non-dairy milk for vegan, see below)

Instructions

  1. Before starting the recipe, remember to freeze the grapes!
  2. Place all ingredients in the blender starting with the milk and yogurt, breaking the banana into pieces. Blend until smooth, adding a splash more liquid as necessary to come to the desired consistency. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Smoothie

Keywords: Grape smoothie

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog is EASY to make! Plus, it doesn’t have all the fillers of the store-bought stuff. Just cream, sugar, eggs, and spices. Enjoy it spiked or without alcohol for a kid-friendly version. Continue reading “Eggnog” »

Homemade Eggnog is EASY to make! Plus, it doesn't have all the fillers of the store-bought stuff. Just cream, sugar, eggs, and spices. Enjoy it spiked or without alcohol for a kid-friendly version.

Continue reading "Eggnog" »

Hot Chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate is a dreamy treat on a cold day. Make it with real chocolate, whole milk, and vanilla, and top it with a dollop of whipped cream. Continue reading “Hot Chocolate” »

Homemade hot chocolate is a dreamy treat on a cold day. Make it with real chocolate, whole milk, and vanilla, and top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Continue reading "Hot Chocolate" »

Christmas Margarita

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities. Looking for a Christmas cocktail that’s fun and a little…unexpected? It’s not often that tequila features in holiday cocktails. But this one is absolutely stellar: try the Christmas Margarita! Why not bring everyone’s favorite drink to your holiday festivities? This one keeps all the character of a classic margarita and adds cranberry juice for a vibrant color and sweet tart nuance. With a garnish of fresh cranberries and rosemary, it’s holiday perfection. We created this drink especially for a virtual holiday party with our friend Sierra: it could not be more festive! What’s in a Christmas margarita? Who doesn’t love a good margarita? (No one.) This classic cocktail is one of the most iconic in the world: it was invented in the 1930’s and is even more popular today. In fact, the classic margarita is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means there’s an “official” definition of how its made: it’s just three ingredients: lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila. The Christmas margarita is a spin-off on the classic. We’ve kept all the classic ingredients and added 100% cranberry juice. […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities.

Christmas margarita

Looking for a Christmas cocktail that’s fun and a little…unexpected? It’s not often that tequila features in holiday cocktails. But this one is absolutely stellar: try the Christmas Margarita! Why not bring everyone’s favorite drink to your holiday festivities? This one keeps all the character of a classic margarita and adds cranberry juice for a vibrant color and sweet tart nuance. With a garnish of fresh cranberries and rosemary, it’s holiday perfection. We created this drink especially for a virtual holiday party with our friend Sierra: it could not be more festive!

What’s in a Christmas margarita?

Who doesn’t love a good margarita? (No one.) This classic cocktail is one of the most iconic in the world: it was invented in the 1930’s and is even more popular today. In fact, the classic margarita is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means there’s an “official” definition of how its made: it’s just three ingredients: lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila.

The Christmas margarita is a spin-off on the classic. We’ve kept all the classic ingredients and added 100% cranberry juice. Because it’s unsweetened and very tart, we added a splash of simple syrup to balance things out. Here’s what you’ll need to make a Christmas margarita:

  • 100% cranberry juice
  • Tequila (use blanco or reposado)
  • Cointreau
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Simple syrup or maple syrup
Christmas margarita recipe

100% cranberry juice vs sweetened: what to know

When you’re shopping for the cranberry juice for your Christmas margarita, make sure to find 100% cranberry juice, which is unsweetened. You can easily find it at most grocery stores, but it’s right next to the sweetened cranberry juice. Here’s what to know for when you’re shopping:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice aka cranberry juice cocktail has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. This type of cranberry juice has been available since the 1940’s for making classic cranberry cocktails like the Vodka Cranberry. However, we like using the modern 100% juice.
  • 100% cranberry juice is unsweetened and made only with cranberries: no added sugar! The benefit? The color is brighter, and you can sweeten your drink to taste.

Did you buy unsweetened? That’s ok, just don’t sweeten your drink as much. Use half of the simple syrup in the recipe below — or even add it to taste.

How to make a salt rim

Of course, a perfect Christmas margarita needs a salt rim! Why is salt used in margaritas? Salt brings out the sweet and sour flavors in the drink. Plus, it’s ultra classic. For the Christmas margarita you could also make a sugar rim if you’d like! Just use superfine or granulated sugar and follow the instructions below. Here’s how to make a salt rim:

  1. Use kosher salt or flaky sea salt (not table salt!). These types of salt are chunky and make for just the right texture on the rim. Or, you can make festive Margarita Salt!
  2. Take a lime wedge and cut a notch in the middle. Then slide it around the rim of the glass. This moistens the rim without having to use your fingers.
  3. Rim the outside edge only. Spread the salt on a plate in an even layer. Tilt the glass into the salt so that the sugar sticks to the outside edge. Shake off any loose salt into the sink.
Christmas margarita

How to make a Christmas margarita!

Once you’ve rimmed the glasses, making a Christmas margarita is very simple: all you have to do is shake the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker! Here’s what to do:

  1. Rim the glass with salt. See above!
  2. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Shake the cranberry juice, tequila, lime juice, Cointreau and simple syrup together with ice in a cocktail shaker (or use a mason jar with a lid).
  3. Strain into a glass and add ice. Strain it into a glass and serve with ice! You can also add fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary as a beautiful garnish. Speaking of ice…

Step it up with clear ice

Want to have the most beautiful look for this Christmas margarita? Look in the photos: see that beautiful crystal clear ice block that looks like it’s cut off a glacier? It’s called Clear Ice. Clear ice is artisan style ice that’s crystal clear, unlike normal ice that’s cloudy. It’s very easy to make at home: Alex created a method that we do with all of our cocktail recipes! Go to How to make clear ice.

Salt rim and clear ice

What to serve with a Christmas margarita

This Christmas margarita is ideal for holiday gatherings: especially a holiday cocktail party! We made this cocktail and our Christmas martini for a special virtual cocktail party with our friend Sierra from Eclectic Kurves. These drinks pair perfectly with nibbles and appetizers! You can make up a holiday platter with some of the ideas below:

When to serve a Christmas margarita

The Christmas margarita is ideal for holiday gatherings in the fall and winter. It works as a:

Print
Christmas margarita

The Christmas Margarita


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) tequila blanco or reposado**
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened)*
  • 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup*
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim (optional)
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
  • For the garnish: cranberries, rosemary sprig

Instructions

  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
  2. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until cold. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice, garnish with cranberries and a rosemary sprig, and serve.

Notes

*If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, use half the simple syrup quantity (or add to taste). 

**To make a pitcher of 8 servings, mix together in a pitcher: 1 1/2 cups tequila, 2 cups 100% unsweetened cranberry juice, 3/4 cup Cointreau, 3/4 cup lime juice, 3 tablespoons simple syrup. Add three handfuls of ice and stir until cold. Pour into individual glasses. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Christmas margarita

More Christmas drinks

There are so many great cocktails to serve in the holiday season! Here are a few ideas:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

How Long Does That Open Bottle of Wine Last, Really?

Internet memes may tell you “there’s no such thing as leftover wine.”—a joke about drinking that misses the point that very often in daily life we might not finish an open bottle. If we do have leftovers, the conventional wisdom is that the clock is …

Internet memes may tell you “there’s no such thing as leftover wine.”—a joke about drinking that misses the point that very often in daily life we might not finish an open bottle. If we do have leftovers, the conventional wisdom is that the clock is ticking, since wine is best the same day it’s opened, or should be consumed by the next day at most. This is frustrating, though, if you don’t want to drink that opened wine the very next day or if you don’t have the chance, especially when the leftovers are of a great quality. And pouring “old” wine out feels like a waste. Many of us will ask under these circumstances, But how bad can it be?

The process that starts when you open a bottle of wine is called aeration, which leads to oxidation, which “increases color change and the loss of fruity characteristics,” according to professor Gavin Sacks, Professor of Enology and Viticulture in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. It also “leads to the loss of sulphur dioxide, which preserves the wine,” he says, and dissipates aromas. Even if you put the cork back in, the process continues, since no closure is airtight and oxygen has already been introduced.

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Garibaldi Cocktail (Campari & Orange!)

The Garibaldi cocktail is an Italian drink with only 2 ingredients: Campari and orange juice! It’s a surprisingly balanced combination. Here’s a unique drink to whip up at home: the Garibaldi cocktail! This Italian cocktail has so much going for it, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s got only two ingredients, which makes it supremely easy to mix up. There’s a little textural little flair with a foamy topping. And the flavor? It comes out balanced and refreshing, with bitter, sweet and tangy notes all intermingling in the perfect sip. From the first drink, I was both surprised, delighted, and ready to make another one. Here’s what to know about this seriously simple drink! What’s a Garibaldi cocktail? The Garibaldi is a two-ingredient Italian cocktail made with Campari and orange juice. The drink is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, a general who contributed to the unification of Italy back in 1871. The idea is that Campari comes from the North of Italy and oranges come from the South…hence the unification of the North and South occur right in your glass! The drink is an aperativo or aperatif, meant to be drunk before dinner. You’ll find the Garibaldi on cocktail […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

The Garibaldi cocktail is an Italian drink with only 2 ingredients: Campari and orange juice! It’s a surprisingly balanced combination.

Garibaldi Cocktail

Here’s a unique drink to whip up at home: the Garibaldi cocktail! This Italian cocktail has so much going for it, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s got only two ingredients, which makes it supremely easy to mix up. There’s a little textural little flair with a foamy topping. And the flavor? It comes out balanced and refreshing, with bitter, sweet and tangy notes all intermingling in the perfect sip. From the first drink, I was both surprised, delighted, and ready to make another one. Here’s what to know about this seriously simple drink!

What’s a Garibaldi cocktail?

The Garibaldi is a two-ingredient Italian cocktail made with Campari and orange juice. The drink is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, a general who contributed to the unification of Italy back in 1871. The idea is that Campari comes from the North of Italy and oranges come from the South…hence the unification of the North and South occur right in your glass! The drink is an aperativo or aperatif, meant to be drunk before dinner.

You’ll find the Garibaldi on cocktail menus in Italy, and it’s also a famous drink served at the Dante cocktail bar in NYC. The only ingredients you’ll need for a Garibaldi cocktail are:

  • Campari
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice (see more below)
Garibaldi cocktail

The orange juice to use

The important part about the orange juice in a Garibaldi: do not even think about using a bottle of purchased OJ here. The magic is in the fresh squeezed orange juice. You can use any type of orange; here are our favorite options:

  • Valencia oranges are most classic for the drink.
  • Blood oranges are another great choice. This is what we used here: blood oranges have a beautiful red color which goes well with the bright red Campari. The dark red of the blood orange slice also looks dramatic as a garnish.

How to make the Garibaldi: blend the juice to make a frothy top!

Here’s the cool thing about the orange juice in a Garibaldi cocktail: it’s blended so that the top forms a frothy foam. It’s almost like a natural version of the classic egg white foam that tops a whiskey sour. The froth was traditionally from the juicer, but you can also use a blender or a few other tools to achieve the same effect. Here are a few tools you can use:

  • Blender: Throw your orange juice in the blender and blend until foamy.
  • Hand frother: We have a hand frother to froth milk for lattes, and it works like a charm here!
  • Whisk: You can also just use a handheld whisk. Whisk it vigorously until you see some froth.

From there, all you have to do is combine the two ingredients in a highball glass and fill it with ice. It’s that easy: no cocktail shaker needed!

Campari

More about Campari

If it’s not already in your liquor cabinet, you should grab a bottle of Campari! It’s a well known spirit that can make all sorts of drinks. Here’s what to know:

  • Campari is an Italian bitter with a bright red color. It’s easy to find, most famously used in the Negroni and other classic cocktails like the Americano and Boulevardier.
  • What does Campari taste like? It’s tastes bitter, fruity, and spicy all at once. It’s infused with different herbs and fruits, part of a secret recipe.
  • Fun fact: Campari was originally colored so brightly red due to a dye made of crushed insects! That’s no longer in the modern recipe, so it shouldn’t deter you from grabbing a bottle.

Step it up: try clear ice!

Want to take your Garibaldi cocktail to the next level? Make with clear ice. It’s an artisan style of ice that’s crystal clear and looks like the type you’d get at a fancy bar. You can cut large chunks and they take this drink to superstar level. All you need is 24 hours and a small cooler! Go to How to Make Clear Ice.

Garibaldi cocktail

More Campari cocktails

What else to make with a bottle of Campari? This Italian liqueur stars in lots of famous and unique cocktails. Here are a few more to try:

  • Classic Negroni The Negroni is the most famous Campari cocktail: equal parts gin, Campari and dry vermouth. It’s ultra dry and bitter, so we prefer some of the spin-offs on this famous drink.
  • Negroni Sbagliato is a Negroni made with Prosecco, or the Boulevardier Cocktail is a Negroni made with bourbon. Both are even better than the original!
  • Campari Spritz Bitter and bubbly, this refreshing mixed drink is perfect for sipping! Make this easy cocktail with 3 ingredients in 3 minutes.
  • Jungle Bird Truly special! A tropical rum cocktail with a twist: bitter Campari offsets sweet pineapple juice.

When to serve a Garibaldi cocktail

The Garibaldi cocktail is a festive and fun drink that’s very easy to whip up. The brilliant red-orange color makes it great for parties, or it’s perfect for a laid back evening! (With the blood orange juice, it’s also a fun Halloween cocktail idea.) It’s great as a:

  • Italian cocktail for a dinner party
  • Signature drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
  • Party drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
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Garibaldi Cocktail

Garibaldi Cocktail (Campari & Orange!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Garibaldi cocktail is an Italian drink with only 2 ingredients: Campari and orange juice! It’s a surprisingly balanced combination.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Campari
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) fresh squeezed orange juice (or blood orange juice)
  • Garnish: orange wedge (optional)

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the orange juice. Use an immersion blender, hand frother or whisk to blend the orange juice until it is foamy.
  2. Add Campari to a highball filled with ice. Top with foamed orange juice and stir gently. Top with an orange wedge. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Garibaldi cocktail, Garibaldi

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

What’s the Best Spirit for Fall? We Got the Answer From an Expert.

Apartment Bartender is a column by Elliott Clark, Food52’s Resident Bartender and an avid at-home cocktail enthusiast. Elliott’s here to help us bring our favorite bar-worthy sips home—and with his spot-on guidance and expert tips, you’ll soon be stirr…

Apartment Bartender is a column by Elliott Clark, Food52's Resident Bartender and an avid at-home cocktail enthusiast. Elliott's here to help us bring our favorite bar-worthy sips home—and with his spot-on guidance and expert tips, you'll soon be stirring, shaking, and garnishing like a pro.


Of all the seasons, fall just might be my favorite when it comes to making cocktails.

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