Barraquito: The Tropical Cocktail That's Perfect For Espresso Martini Lovers

Coffee in cocktails is always a winning combination, and the classic espresso martini has been the star of the show for as long as anyone can remember. The combination of vodka, espresso liqueur, and a shot of espresso is the token drink of trendy influencers and coffee addicts everywhere, but if you're looking to switch things up a bit, the barraquito could be exactly what you need.

Still caffeine-centric, the barraquito is made with espresso, Licor 43, condensed milk, frothy whole milk, lemon peel, and a hefty dash of cinnamon. Although it has origins in the tropical Canary Islands, the cocktail is actually served hot, unlike its espresso martini cousin. Another major difference between the two cocktails is that the barraquito has a lower ABV than an espresso martini. The only alcohol in the drink is the vanilla-flavored Licor 43 – a Spanish liqueur also used in the Mexican carajillo cocktail that has an alcohol percentage of 31 percent. In comparison, vodka averages anywhere from 35% to 46% ABV.. For espresso martini lovers who want something a little less alcoholic to warm their bellies, a barraquito is the perfect option.

The barraquito is a part of life in Tenerife

For those living on the Canary Island of Tenerife, the warm coffee cocktail is a part of life. The drink can be traced back to a spot called Bar Imperial — and was created by a customer named Sebastián Barraco Rubio after whom the drink is affectionately named. Legend has it that Barraco Rubio, aka Barraquito ("Little Barraco"), used to consistently order the combination of ingredients in what is now a barraquito.

The bar where the drink was conceived still exists in Tenerife, but nowadays, people enjoy the barraquito everywhere, at any time of day. Apparently, asking for a barraquito on the island is much like ordering your morning latte, and the cocktail appeals to consumers across generations. The drink is also often sipped on after a meal, similar to how you may order a post-dinner coffee or digestif. If you'd prefer not to consume any alcohol, the barraquito can also be ordered sans liqueur.

Crafting the cocktail is an art

Along with being delicious, the barraquito's layered presentation also makes it a visual treat. Now, the drink also incorporates frothed whole milk, something that Barraco Rubio's initial iteration did not. Each ingredient is added in a specific order to produce a layered final product. First comes the condensed milk, then a shot of Licor 43, then a shot of espresso, and finally the frothed whole milk tops it all off. This specific order gives the final cocktail its fun layered look. The last step in crafting a barraquito is adding the cinnamon and lemon peel as garnishes.

One tip for making sure that all of the layers stay intact during the pouring process is to make sure you're adding each gently. If you carelessly dump them on top of each other, they'll muddle and you won't be left with the aesthetic look that is the cocktail's signature. If you struggle, try pouring each slowly over the back, curved part of a spoon.

Can't find Licor 43 in your local liquor store? You can always substitute it for a different kind of vanilla liqueur. Kahlua makes a coffee liqueur that has a vanilla flavor that can work well in a pinch as an alternative.