February 27th is national Kahlúa day, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m posting this a bit early in case you want to get a head start on your celebration. Kahlúa is a rum and coffee liqueur made of Arabica coffee beans and the world’s finest sugarcane. Not only is it great in coffee, on the rocks or in mixed drinks, but it also brings back wonderful memories of two people who were so near and dear to me – my late grandmother, Mamma, and my friend, the late and great Charlie Murray.
The first time I went to Cancun/Cozumel was with my best friend Rose in 1989. Mamma gave me some spending money, so in return I brought her back a bottle of Kahlúa since I knew she liked it (not to mention it was duty free and quite inexpensive in Mexico.) Not long afterwards, I spent the night with Mamma to help her look after Pampa, who was in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease. She broke out the bottle and we proceeded to have so much fun drinking it (on the rocks, might I add, since she had no cream or milk). What a great night! I will always think back to that night and Mamma whenever I have Kahlúa in a drink.
I could always count on Charlie Murray to order a White Russian or some sort of rendition of this drink on the weekends when I bartended at The Pub (which is now a tattoo parlor – go figure.) Those of us bartending never knew exactly what Charlie was going to order on any particular visit, but chances were he’d start with beer (Miller Light, Michelob Light, etc.), move to wine (if he was dining with us), and then the field was wide open – White Russians, Scotch, Irish whiskey, screwdrivers – whatever. He was all over the alcohol map, but White Russians were almost always on his list. Oh, Charlie, I miss you so much!
OK, let’s take the basic Kahlúa on the rocks and the White Russian just a bit further, and make a roasted, toasted almond. Here’s what you’ll need:
Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
- 2 oz. vanilla vodka (I like Skye) – BTW, plain vodka works just as well
- 2 oz. Kahlúa
- 2 oz. amaretto – this is what puts the “almond” in the drink (I like DiSaronno)
- 4 oz. fat-free Half & Half
- Mint for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients except for the mint, and shake well. Pour into iced-filled glasses. Garnish with mint if so desired.
Make a toast to all of the Mamma’s and Charlie Murray’s in your life, and enjoy!
Eat, drink and be merry!