Let’s revisit a brief history of “the other” Mexican spirit, Kahlua.
1930: The Alvarez brothers harvest Arabica coffee beans from the fields of Coatepe, Veracruz, Mexico. They work with Señor Blanco, a local entrepreneur, to use their beans in a spirits recipe he was financially backing.
1936: Chemist Montalvo Lara uses the Alvarez brother’s coffee beans in a spirits base made from sugar cane to produce both syrup and rum. The final product is named Kahlúa, meaning “House of the Acolhua people” in the Veracruz Nahuatl language.
2014: Kahlúa is made in Mexico City at a Pernod Ricard owned factory. The beans are medium roasted and then cold brewed. When bottled, natural vanilla flavoring and only a touch of caramel coloring is added to insure the same rich dark brown liquid goes into every bottle.
The two most iconic cocktails using Kahlua are the Black Russian and the White Russian. I’d suggest making one of each and comparing while celebrating National Kahlua Day.
This is one of those cocktails that seems like it originated in the heady days of cocaine, disco and unsafe sex. Not so. This one can trace its heritage directly back to 1949, when it was created by Gustave Tops (not Russian, but Belgian) at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. Odder still, it was made in honor of Perle Mesta, the then current U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
So, why a Black Russian? Vodka. Which at the time, was still a pretty obscure spirit outside of the U.S.S.R. Kahlua, the only other ingredient, is a Mexican liqueur which debuted in 1936. So, I suppose it could just as easily been called a “Black Mexican”. But, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it tho’.
0.75oz coffee liqueur
Pour into ice-filled old-fashioned glass and stir.