Do You Have The Cojones To Try Madrina's Espresso Cocktail?
Welcome to Unfiltered, our weekly feature that explores the Dallas coffee scene — and how it often manages to thrive in the most unusual places. Given that we live in a time when Starbucks locations are about as prevalent as the golden McDonald's arches, when new coffee shops seem to open every other week and when almost everyone uses a ChemEx to brew their coffee, we're here to show you some alternatives — for when your coffee shop routine becomes monotonous or when you're just looking for something different in your caffeine endeavors.
4216 Oak Lawn Avenue.
The concept of a coffee cocktail brings to mind images of a not-quite-Irish San Francisco treat or perhaps a certain White Russian-swilling dude. Y'know, mainly sweet liqueurs being used to offset some more robust palliative.
But many of these incarnations are rather recent developments in the colorful history of coffee and alcohol pairings. In actuality, people have been combining these two elements for centuries. One of these earlier variants is the carajillo, an aperitif with 19th century Spanish origins that later spread throughout Europe, America and Mexico in different forms.
It's Mexico's version that appears on the menu at Madrina, the French-Mexican fine-dining spot tucked in the heart of Highland Park. The recipe is simple: A shot of espresso, a citrusy, vanilla flavored liqueur called Licor 43 and ice.
What truly influences the taste is that coffee selection, as its juicy profile and sugar cane-like undertones marry perfectly with the sweetness of the liquor. Rather than being harsh and biting, like many mixtures of its kind, this drink is impeccably smooth — almost to the point of sinful indulgence.
After a couple of sips, and you can easily forget that any alcohol is present. Well, at least until the mellowed buzz of both substances kick in.
Its existence on this menu intrigues in that it stands as the sole offering at the intersection of Madrina's coffee options available and its French- and Mexican-inspired cocktail menu.
Even at $13 a pop, it's worth it, a refined vacation alongside two of the world's oldest drugs.