Meet the Barraquito, the Canary Islands’ Answer to the Espresso Martini

Espresso martinis are still having their moment in the sun, and although we’re completely not mad about it, an equally tasty (and caffeine-forward) riff would be a welcome option; enter the barraquito, the response to boozy, coffee-based mixed drink lovers’ dreams.

Coming from the island of Tenerife, the barraquito has a long history in the drinking culture of the Canary Islands. Crafted from a combination of espresso, Licor 43, condensed milk, frothed whole milk, and the vital components of lemon peel and cinnamon, this complex cocktail, is unlike the traditional espresso martini, served hot. It uses a textured, delicious, and lower-ABV alternative to its boozier martini counterpart, as well as insight into the local culture of the island.

In a quest to find out a bit more about the drink after a check out to the island, where I took in massive quantities of this velvety, espresso-based libation, I enlisted the aid of regional hospitality expert José Gaspar Hernández Álvarez. A native to the Canary Islands, Hernández Álvarez (who goes by Gaspar) invested 12 years of his childhood in Great Britain, then ultimately returned to Tenerife.
From a local’s viewpoint, Hernández Álvarez reveals that enjoying a barraquito mixed drink is essentially a staple in daily life on the island.
Traditional Canarian coffee Barraquito
According to Hernández Álvarez, all of it started with a local customer of the bar named Sebastián Barraco Rubio, who was described in your area by his surname, Barraco, or “Barraquito,” as a short-term of endearment. “This gentleman utilized to regularly buy a long coffee with condensed milk, a glass of Licor 43, a piece of lemon peel, and cinnamon,” he describes. Rather than continuing to purchase this unique mixture of ingredients by listing them one by one, the group at Bar Imperial started referring to the beverage just as a barraquito, after the male who essentially conceptualized its existence; therefore, how the beverage was formally born.

While a number of minor variations exist, the basic go-to dish includes adding one tablespoon of condensed milk to a tall glass, followed by one shot Licor 43, one shot of espresso, and frothy entire milk on top in that order, so as to accomplish a 4 to five-tier layered discussion. Note: The Guide to Canary Islands keeps in mind that need to you add the frothed milk prior to the coffee, just 4 layers of color will be present rather of five.

In addition to its distinct components, what makes the barraquito so unique is its lovely layered discussion, as well as the ritual with which it is taken pleasure in. Upon receiving the beverage, the routine of enjoying it incorporates enabling the lemon zest sink to sink to the bottom of the glass, then stirring all active ingredients together prior to consuming. Hernández Álvarez notes that should curious mixed drink fans want to experience the beverage in its place of origin, that the Bar Imperial is still up and running in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Beyond its distinct taste profile and distinctive appearance, Hernández Álvarez highlights the drink’s adaptability, rendering it an attractive choice to all type of cocktail fans. “This hot drink has a vast array of customers, from youths to the elderly,” he describes. He finds that the very best time of day to delight in and appreciate one is during a post-meal discussion, always accompanied by some sweets.
With regards to the espresso martini, although fans of the former will likely take pleasure in the barraquito, Hernández Álvarez notes that the two beverages shouldn’t be confused with one another, as one is served cold and with much heavier quantities of booze. “A barraquito and an espresso martini are undoubtedly two different drinks,” he says, mentioning that he’s found that although espresso martini fans tend to delight in value the flavor of “pure coffee” more, he discovers that anybody who enjoys the cooled and boozy mixed drink will equally value a barraquito.

So what do we like most about it? Simply put, it’s special, it speaks with its place of origin, and above all, it’s tasty– and its lower ABV makes it ideal for taking pleasure in all day (and holiday) long. To that we state, ¡ salut!

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