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700ml Kahlúa bottle
TypeCoffee liqueur
ManufacturerPernod Ricard
Country of originMexico
Alcohol by volume20.0%
Kahlúa for sale at a liquor store in Fukushima City, Japan

Kahlúa (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈlu.a]) is a coffee liqueur from Veracruz, Mexico. The drink contains rum, sugar, and 100% arabica coffee.


Pedro Domecq began producing Kahlúa in 1936.[1] It was named Kahlúa, meaning "House of the Acolhua people" in the Veracruz Nahuatl language spoken before the Spanish Conquest. Kahlúa was Hispanicized as Ulúa, forming the name of the modern San Juan de Ulúa fortress. Jules Berman was the first importer of the liquor to the United States, earning him the nickname "Mr. Kahlua".[2]

The company merged in 1994 with Allied Lyons to become Allied Domecq. In turn, that company was partially acquired in 2005 by Pernod Ricard,[1] the largest spirits distributor in the world since its merger with the Swedish Vin & Sprit in March 2008.

Since 2004, the alcohol content of Kahlúa is 20.0%; earlier versions had 26.5%.[3] In 2002, a more expensive, high-end product called "Kahlúa Especial" became available in the United States, Canada and Australia after previously being offered only in duty-free markets. Made with arabica coffee beans grown in Veracruz, Mexico,[4] Kahlúa Especial has an alcohol content of 36%, has a lower viscosity, and is less sweet than the regular version.


Kahlúa is used to make cocktails or drink neat or on ice. Some people use it when baking desserts, and/or as a topping for ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes.

It is mixed in several ways, often with different combinations of milk, cream, coffee and cocoa.

Because Kahlúa is made from coffee beans, it contains caffeine. According to the company, it contains "approximately 10 mg per 100 mL (4.85 mg in each 1.5 oz) drink" or about 25% the amount found in the same volume of coffee.[5]

Kahlúa is a key ingredient in several notable cocktails:


Kahlúa and Kahlúa Especial have received accolades from international spirit ratings organizations. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded the Kahlúa Especial three silver medals between 2005 and 2007 and a bronze in 2009.[7] The Beverage Testing Institute gave the Especial a score of 85 in 2007.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kahlúa Revitalizes Iconic Packaging". Pernod Ricard USA. September 14, 2007. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  2. ^ Myrna, Oliver (1998-07-22). "J. Berman; 'Mr. Kahlua' Was Developer, Donor". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  3. ^ Kahlúa ad from 1975 Archived 2010-12-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  4. ^ Kahlua 'Unleashes' Major Holiday Marketing Push, Including New Television and Radio Advertising. Business Wire, November 10, 2003. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  5. ^ Carnaha, Ted. "Kahlua and Caffeine". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Spanish Coffee". Imbibe Magazine. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Summary of Kahlúa Especial awards". Proof66.com. Retrieved 2010-10-21.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]