Sunday, May 1, 2011

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Kahlúa Cocktails


The Sombrero is a rich and sweet combo of coffee liqueur and dairy. After a few sips, you may end up with a milk mustache.

Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May) commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of the French in Puebla in 1862, and is celebrated today primarily by Mexican-Americans, proud of their rich heritage. You can bet that Kahlúa will be involved in the festivities, especially when served with desserts such as those Mexican doughnut rods known as churros. Kahlúa, as you probably already know, is one of the most popular coffee liqueurs on the market. This Mexican syrupy tipple has been around since the 1930s and is an ingredient in a smattering of world-famous cocktails that rely on its rich coffee-bean essence, and its robust bittersweetness. Can you remember the first time Kahlúa touched your lips? Perhaps like Paul, you tried it for the first time in college, mixed with some milk plus a few ice cubes bobbing in the mix. Or maybe your initiation into the world of Kahlúa occurred earlier in life, as with Steve. His parents always had Kahlúa stocked in their home bar? Why? It’s an ingredient in Steve’s mom’s favorite drink, Kahlúa and Milk, aka a Sombrero. But did you know that any coffee-flavored cordial mixed with dairy is called a Sombrero? Try it with cream or half and half, and its rich velvety goodness ventures into the realm of liquid dessert.

Sombrero
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua) or coffee-flavored brandy
1–2 ounces or more milk, cream, or half and half (your preference on amount and type)
ice

Method
In an ice-filled rocks glass, pour the liqueur first, then top with the dairy. Stir if you like.


Like cream? So does your Sombrero. Add as much as you desire.

Sombrero sounds so much nicer than Kahlúa and Milk, though we suppose the Kahlúa people would disagree. It’s a decidedly “light’ drink in terms of its alcohol content—it sports half the proof of most spirits, such as vodka. We understand that sometimes you want a little more hooch in your beverage, and that’s where the vodka comes into play. By adding vodka to your Sombrero, you’ve just created a White Russian, a drink immortalized by Jeff Bridges’s “The Dude” in the Coen Brothers’ flic The Big Lebowski, a wacky mistaken-identity romp whose primary location is a bowling alley. We think it’s time you take your White Russian to your local oak-laned alley and get busy.

White Russian
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce coffee liqueur
1 ounce cream
ice

Method
Shake ingredients and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

And for those drink enthusiasts who are lactose intolerant and don’t have a Lactaid pill handy, there’s always the Black Russian, whose provenance dates back to a 1949 Belgian bar.

Black Russian
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce coffee liqueur
ice

Method
Shake ingredients and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

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