December 5, 2018

Mediterranean Love: A Specialty Coffee Cocktail Recipe


Cozy up with a rich and sophisticated specialty coffee cocktail after dinner.

This warming drink is based on the carajillo, a Spanish combination of coffee and brandy, whisky, or anisette. It’s also similar to a caffé corretto, an Italian drink that traditionally pairs grappa, sambuca, or brandy with an espresso.

Mediterranean Love combines three spirits in a sweet and complex blend and the addition of coffee unites the flavours to create a balanced, bittersweet nightcap.

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It’s important to use a coffee that will provide some body and has low acidity, such as a Cuban bean from Sierra Maestra. Using a coffee variety such as a Bourbon will provide sweetness and work well.

It’s also important that the coffee is prepared as a ristretto (a shorter version of an espresso) to allow the flavour of the spirits to shine. A ristretto compliments the smoky and sweet notes of the spirits and doesn’t add too much volume.

30 ml Licor 43
15 ml cognac (Hennessy works well)
3 ml black sambuca
1 shot of ristretto (approximately 15 ml)

Mediterranean Love Cocktail

Mediterranean Love at XCARGO in Brisbane, Australia. Credit: Angus Brennan


  • Combine the Licor 43, cognac, and black sambuca in a double rocks glass and stir slowly for approximately 20 seconds.
  • Add ice until the glass is two-thirds full and then pour the ristretto on top.


Try replacing the cognac with grappa for a version that is closer to a traditional caffé corretto. You can also try it without the black sambuca. The tiny amount of this spirit used in the recipe adds a bittersweet, anise dimension, but it works well without it too.

Shot of Ristretto

A ristretto adds rich coffee flavour but is small in volume.

Liked this? Check out Coffee Cocktails: How a World CiGS Finalist Created His Spirit Bar Recipes

Feature photo credit: Mathew MacQuarrie

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