Properly Sauced – Adventures in Kahlúa


Since last week was Mexican Independence Day (September 16), we received several suggestions for cocktails that included Kahlúa. Created in 1936, and refined to its current recipe in Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatan, Kahlúa is a liqueur that hadn’t really crossed our path, except as an ingredient in Coffee Martinis and Black Russians. After making some truly awful concoctions (most of which involved mixing Kahlúa and Tequila – just because they’re both products of Mexico does NOT mean they taste good together), we came across the Yucatan Sling.

(Ed. Note: I'll have to make a Black Bull for Anthony sometime if he doesn't think tequila and Kahlúa don't mix).

An adaptation of the Singapore Sling, which will surely be a topic for another day, the Yucatan Sling is based on an unlikely-sounding combination of gin, Kahlúa and cherry liqueur, mixed with juices. We were skeptical at first, and our suspicious were heightened by our first attempt to mix it, in which we used far too much Kahlúa and the drink ended up tasting like cherry-flavored coffee. However, once we got it right, we were pleasantly surprised! Properly made, this drink is a sweet treat for a fall afternoon, with a smooth fruit flavor and a strong, alcoholic bite.

Yucatán Sling

3/4 oz Kahlúa
1 oz Gin
3/4 oz cherry liqueur
Juice of half a lime
1 oz pineapple juice
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Club soda

Combine all ingredients except the club soda into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a highball glass and top off with club soda. If you like, garnish with an orange wheel and pineapple wedge.

We used Heering Cherry Liqueur for this drink, which has a strong smoky flavor almost like a tawny port. It’s available at Sam’s for $20. Also, vary the strength of the flavors by increasing or decreasing the size of the glass and the amount of soda – we found it to be tastiest when combined with a lot of soda, about half and half. Photo courtesy of Kahlua.

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