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This Mexican Coffee is a spin on the classic Irish coffee with Kahlua, tequila, and cinnamon, topped off with a cloud of fluffy whipped cream. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients, this coffee cocktail is sure to be a favorite.

Mexican coffee
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Here’s a fun variation on the classic Irish coffee: try Mexican Coffee! This spiked coffee cocktail stars two Mexican liquors, tequila and Kahlua, plus a little Triple Sec for good measure. Top with cinnamon and a layer of fluffy whipped cream, and it’s an irresistibly delicious spin on spiked coffee. (Looking for a morning brew of Mexican spiced coffee instead? Go to this traditional Café de Olla recipe.)

Ingredients in Mexican coffee

This Mexican coffee recipe is one of many spins on the classic Irish coffee. Irish coffee is coffee spiked with Irish whiskey, and you can swap in all sorts of liqueurs to create new drinks. The concept is called carajillo in Spanish, and it’s popular in Spain and other Latin American countries like Mexico, Colombia and Cuba. It’s it’s a spiked Mexican coffee recipe that’s a little more traditional. Or if you’re looking for a morning coffee vibe, try Café de Olla instead, Mexican black coffee with cinnamon and sugar.

This recipe uses Mexican spirits to make a spin on the classic spiked coffee cocktail. The Triple Sec orange liqueur is reminiscent of a margarita, and adds a lot of depth and nuance to this drink. You won’t be able to put it down! Here’s what’s in this Mexican coffee recipe:

  • Coffee
  • Kahlua
  • Tequila
  • Triple sec (or Cointreau)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon, for garnish
Mexican coffee recipe

Or, try Mexican spiked coffee: a Carajillo!

Looking for a more traditional spin on Mexican coffee? Try a Carajillo! Carajillo is coffee spiked with Licor 43, a Spanish vanilla liqueur, and it’s a popular after dinner drink in Mexico.

This specific variation is a spin on classic Spanish carajillo, which uses brandy instead of Licor 43. After tasting it, Licor 43 is absolutely worth the splurge: the way it pairs with coffee is simple perfection.


Types of coffee and methods

A cup of fresh brewed, hot coffee is best for this Mexican coffee recipe. There are several types of coffee and ways to make coffee that work for this drink:

  • Dark roast coffee: This is most traditional for an Irish coffee so that the bitter notes of the coffee shine thought. Make it up in your standard coffee pot, a French press, an Aeropress, or a Moka Pot.
  • Medium roast coffee: Another option is using a single origin medium roast coffee and making it using a pour-over method in a Chemex coffee maker.
  • Espresso (Americano): Can you use espresso here? Some people claim an Americano makes for the best Irish coffee because it yields an intense, rich coffee flavor, so you can certainly try it in Mexican coffee as well.
  • Decaf: You can use decaf coffee for less of a buzz.

Triple Sec vs Cointreau

This Mexican coffee is tasty with tequila and Kahlua, but add Triple Sec and it’s over the top delicious. Triple Sec is an orange liqueur that’s used in classic cocktails, the most famous of which is the classic margarita. Cointreau is also often used as the orange liqueur (some say it makes the perfect margarita). Here’s the difference between Triple Sec vs Cointreau:

  • Triple Sec is a family of clear dry orange-flavored liqueurs, including Cointreau. In most liquor stores, bottles labeled “Triple Sec” are lower in quality and more affordable than Cointreau. It has a straightforward flavor that’s very citrusy, almost like an orange-infused vodka.
  • Cointreau is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur made from sweet and bitter orange peels. It has a smoother, more nuanced flavor than Triple Sec. You can use either one in Mexican coffee, but Cointreau is always best in our book.
Mexican coffee

Tips for homemade whipped cream

To make a next-level Mexican coffee, promise us that you’ll use homemade whipped cream! Cool Whip absolutely will not do here. It’s actually very easy to make at home, and takes just a few minutes to whisk up with a bowl and spoon. In fact, a traditional Irish coffee uses loosely whipped cream, so it’s not as stiff as a traditional cream. Here’s what to know:

  • Whipped cream: Make this Homemade Whipped Cream using very fresh heavy cream, because it whips quickly and has the best texture. Whip it to soft peaks, which makes just the right texture for floating on top of a drink. Add it to the drink over the back of a spoon, which helps it to balance on top.
  • Dairy-free whipped cream: Or, use this Dairy Free Whipped Cream made with coconut milk. You’ll need to refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk overnight before making the recipe. Or, you can use coconut cream with no need for refrigeration.
Mexican coffee

There are many variations on spiked coffee related to this Mexican coffee recipe! Here are a few favorites:

Want more coffee cocktails? There are many to choose from. Try the Espresso Martini, White Russian, Coffee Martini and more.

When to serve Mexican coffee

This is one classy classic cocktail! It’s best as an after dinner drink, but you can serve it anytime. Try it as a:

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Mexican coffee

Mexican Coffee

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This Mexican Coffee is a spin on the classic Irish coffee with Kahlua, tequila, and cinnamon, topped off with a cloud of fluffy whipped cream. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients, this coffee cocktail is sure to be a favorite.


  • 6 ounces* warm coffee
  • ½ ounce tequila
  • ½ ounce Kahlua
  • ½ ounce Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream, whipped to soft peaks (or vegan whipped cream for dairy-free)
  • Cinnamon, to garnish


  1. Make the coffee, using your favorite method. 
  2. Make the homemade whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  3. Add the coffee to a glass or Irish coffee mug, leaving about an inch at the top for cream. Stir in the coffee, tequila, Kahlua, Triple Sec, and vanilla. 
  4. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve. 


*For conversion to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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