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Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur


By Robert Plotkin

Kahlúa was first imported into the United States after the repeal of prohibition and quickly became a favorite with our country's mixologists. The exact origin of its recipe is a matter of debate. Those that contend it originated in Morocco, point to the Moorish archway depicted on the label as one piece of evidence. What is known, however, is that Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur has been made in Mexico for nearly a century and that it steadfastly remains one of the bestselling liqueurs in the world.

Kahlúa is made from a base of continuous-distilled sugar cane and is steeped with vanilla and mountain-grown Mexican coffee. The famous liqueur has a deep brown color, a velvety smooth texture and a freshly ground coffee aroma. Its well-rounded body delivers the rich flavors of coffee, cocoa and vanilla. While moderately sweet, Kahlúa isn't cloying or overbearing and has a long, flavorful finish.

In 2002, the brand introduced a captivating new version called Kahlúa Especial, a super-premium liqueur made entirely from South American Arabica coffee beans. It has a silky texture, a generous bouquet of roasted coffee and vanilla, plus the long-lasting flavors of coffee, mint and dark chocolate. For coffee aficionados, 70-proof Kahlúa Especial is a "must have" elixir.

Kahlúa has nearly universal mixability, which keeps it among the most frequently used ingredients behind the bar. Without it, much of American mixology simply isn't possible. Now that the successful Kahlúa franchise includes 3 flavor extensions—French Vanilla, Mocha and Hazelnut—top-shelves around the country will need expanding.