It had been a very long day and was about to get longer with more tapas sampling and bar hopping.  I know it sounds like the life of luxury, and don’t get me wrong, it is a whole lot of fun!  But after 9 days of going full on from 8am to 12pm, you get a little drained.

Carajillo to the rescue!

A carajillo is a coffee with a hit of cognac.  Or it could have a hit of rum, orujo, or really any liquor (or so said the bartender who mixed me this one).  Some people insist it be layered, have a strip of lemon peel, whip cream or precisely 5 coffee beans.  I like mine plain – a cafe solo with a shot of cognac.

Where the word carajillo comes from is still under debate.  Some say from Spanish soldier’s occupying Cuba needing a hit of courage or coraje. Others stick with the soldiers, but say it originated in Bacelona with workers in a hurry ordering it “que ara guillo”.  And still others suggest it comes from an adapation of the fairly vulgar swear word “cajalo” though I’m not sure if it was used as in “… I really need a coffee with a kick” or “…. that coffee had a lot of booze in it”

Where ever the name came from, it is the inspiration for Spanish Coffees in the English speaking world!  And for that, and the carajillo when I really needed it, I say “Thank you!”

photo credit: Alexa Clark

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Photo Credit : Alexa Clark