Spanish Coffee

Portland's signature drink, redefined.

The Spanish Coffee is known as “Carajillo” in Spain, likely perhaps for coraje, “courage,” or que ara guillo, Catalan for “now, I’m leaving in a hurry,” an order for both coffee and booze without any dilly-dally.

Born in a place with more festivals than there are days of the year, the Spanish Coffee is served with fanfare in its home country. The classic preparation involves torching rum in a sugar-rimmed glass to caramelize the sugars (which is absolutely an option—see Editor’s Note for tips), a ritual which was made famous in America at Huber’s Café in Portland, Oregon. And while Spaniards might balk at the idea, this version hews to the kitschy American tradition of floating whipped cream (scented with the orange-forward Grand Marnier) atop the steaming drink.


Serving: 1

  • 3/4 ounce Jamaican rum (preferably Smith & Cross)
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 ounce House Spirits Series Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce brown sugar syrup (1:1, brown sugar: water)
  • 4 ounces coffee, freshly brewed
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/4 ounce Grand Marnier

  1. If rimming a glass with sugar (optional), add a few tablespoons of superfine sugar to a shallow plate. Rub the outside lip of a tempered mug with a slice of orange, and then press it into the sugar to adhere. Set mug aside.
  2. Add heavy cream and Grand Marnier to a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add the coil of a hawthorne shaker and dry shake, without ice, for ten seconds or more, to aerate but not whip into stiffness. It must be lightened but still pourable.
  4. Add all ingredients to the mug, and stir to mix. (If flaming the rum, see Editor's Note.)
  5. Holding a slotted spoon closely over the surface of the drink, pour a finger's worth of cream through it to float atop of the drink.
Editor's Note

If choosing to flame the cocktail to caramelize a sugar rim, add rum and Grand Marnier to the mug. Using a long match, carefully touch the lit match to the rum and let burn for a few seconds. Add liqueur, sugar syrup and coffee (this will extinguish the flame).