Caffè Corretto – preparation

Caffè Corretto – preparation

The special taste of caffeine and alcohol

The Caffè Corretto is an espresso variant that translates as a refined espresso. High-quality spirits are used for refinement. Invented in Italy, it is grappa there that refines coffee or espresso. Other countries use their nationally particularly valued “high-proof”.

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The refinement of the Caffè Corretto

The Italians particularly appreciate the Caffè Corretto after lunch. The coffee is often refined with grappa, a pomace brandy, distilled from the alcohol-containing and fermented press residues from wine production. Other refinement options are the sambuca, a liqueur flavored with spices; Brandy, or amaretto.

Internationally, the coffee is usually ordered under the name Espresso Corretto – with the exception of the Spanish. They call the same drink Caffè Carachillo and refine it with Veterano, which is also made from wine distillates. The spelling Carajillo for the Caffè Corretto is also common in Spain. It comes from Latin America from the word carajo, freely translated in English as: Damn it! In addition to brandy and liqueur, the Carajillo also uses whiskey or rum as an alcohol shot.

In German-speaking Switzerland, the word Schümli-Pflümli is common for a hot coffee with plum schnapps. The Austrians, on the other hand, like to mix coffee with eggnog and whipped cream, but also know the variant only with alcohol. Anyone who orders a Cossack coffee in Vienna receives a small mocha with vodka, red wine and sugar in a glass with a handle, the Einspännerglas.

Ordered with your favorite alcohol

The preferences also differ when it comes to preparation and enjoyment. Usually, the freshly brewed coffee is accompanied by a shot of the preferred alcohol. The variant of drinking the espresso first and then pouring the high percentage alcohol of your choice into the still warm cup is also widespread. It mixes with the remains of the crema adhering to the edges. This creates a different taste and aroma than when mixing it with the hot coffee.

This drinking habit hardly differs from the end of a meal in an Italian restaurant: The penultimate stop is the espresso, the last the grappa. With the multitude of spirits that can refine the Caffè Corretto, the connoisseur orders it directly with the desired alcohol, for example as Caffè Coretto Sambuca.

Prepared with great sensitivity

The basis for the unmistakable taste of the Caffè Corretto is a good espresso. If you test the Caffee Corretto at home, we recommend an amount of 2cl (20 ml) schnapps – you can vary this amount to find the perfect mixing ratio for your taste. It is very important during preparation: The amount of alcohol must not “overwhelm” the coffee, because the mixture of both components ensures the unique taste. When choosing the finish, the wishes of the sexes often separate. Men prefer tart whiskey, women increasingly prefer the amaretto. It sets an aromatic contrast with the slight almond note.


There are many ways to prepare the Caffè Corretto. Here are two suggestions:

The selected, high-proof alcohol is placed in the preheated espresso cups. Then fill up with hot espresso and serve with white or brown sugar.

only half of the alcohol goes into the cup and is topped up with coffee: the other half stays in the glass. When the espresso sweetened with brown sugar is drunk, the remaining alcohol goes into the cup and mixes with the sugar residue. Mix it briefly and enjoy it.


Anecdotes – written by the Caffè Corretto

Coffee is a component of human culture: it has been shaping history and politics for centuries and it also writes wonderful stories. For example that of the Venetian Walter Moro, a Canadian of Italian origin. He lives in Oakville, Ontario Province. Moro loves ice fishing and is famous for his Caffè Corretto – with grappa of course – and his portable stove. He likes to share his passion for the drink from the homeland of his ancestors with his fellow anglers. At some point, one of the ice anglers, whom he had often given this pleasure to, stood in front of his door: with a bottle of sparkling wine and a panettone to say thank you. Walter Moro never saw this man again afterwards. But no matter how often he tells this story, his eyes still shine.

The Caffè Corretto even makes it to the title topic of short stories, for example with Petra Effenberg. Their roots can be found in a fictional Italian bar in Munich. Here the author serves the drink in words: funny, sensitive and as hot as the freshly prepared espresso with a grappa. In Umberto Matino’s detective novel “Die Toten von Contrada Brunelli”, the Caffè Corretto also plays an important role as an element of tension: it accompanies perpetrators and victims, investigators and witnesses alike in their entanglement in history.

Conclusion: a pleasure – many names and variants

The coffee comes under many names and in numerous preparation variants: mixed or enjoyed in two stages one after the other. It is created with

  • Grappa, sambuca, brandy, whiskey, rum, vodka, red wine, plum brandy, cognac or amaretto.

It is also ordered as:

  • Espresso Coretto, Caffè Carajillo, Caffè carajo, coffee cognac, Schümli-Pflümli or Cossack coffee.