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National Kahlúa Day

Kahlúa, a liqueur made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and rum, is enjoyed and celebrated today with National Kahlúa Day. Kahlúa is used in many cocktails, often being combined with milk, cream, coffee, and cocoa. It is used in the White Russian, Black Russian, Mudslide, Mind Eraser, Espresso Martini, and B-52 shot. It is sometimes used while baking desserts and can be used to top ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes.

Kahlúa got its start in Mexico in 1936. By one account, its name has ties to ancient Arabic languages and is a slang word for coffee, but by another, it means "House of the Acolhua people" in the Veracruz Nahuatl language. It was introduced to the United States in 1940. One of the most prominent cocktails that use it, the White Russian, made with vodka and heavy cream, was invented in 1955 in Oakland, California. Forty-three years later it played a prominent role in the film The Big Lebowski. Since 1980, Kahlúa has been the #1 coffee liqueur in the world. Kahlúa Especial debuted in 2002, with a higher alcohol content (36%), less viscosity, and less sweetness, but with a more robust coffee flavor. Over the years, the alcohol content of Kahlúa has been lowered. Originally it was 26.5%, but was lowered to 20% in 2004, and to 16% in some markets in 2021.

Today, Kahlúa is produced by Pernod Ricard and made in Veracruz, Mexico. It takes about seven years for a batch to be made. After Arabica coffee grows for about six years, the coffee cherries, which hold the beans, are a ripe, dark red. The beans are taken out and put in burlap sacks for another six months. After the beans are roasted, they are combined with rum—which is made with sugarcane—and put through a four-week distillation process.

How to Observe National Kahlúa Day

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