A new coffee drink is taking the city of Guadalajara by storm. The rest of the world can't be far behind.
Inspired by the tradition of “Carajillos“—hot coffee beverages spiked with liquor—I'm talking about the Juamilton, an espresso-based drink that is equal parts dessert and cocktail hour. This curious drink was created by El Terrible Juan Café (known affectionately as “Terrible” by locals), a very popular specialty coffee shop here in Guadalajara. The focus here is specialty coffees brewed thoughtfully, but the Juamilton is like a wink in their menu. No matter how much you have eaten or had to drink, undoubtedly you will save space for it, because as we say in Mexico: “dessert goes to the heart” (pointing to the chest’s left side).
The main ingredient in the Juamilton is called Rompope, a thick Mexican liquor, which American readers might equate to eggnog. It hails from Puebla, and is made using egg yolk, vanilla, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and dark rum. There are many variations on the Rompope recipe, which is sometimes served over crushed ice, and has deep nostalgia for people in Mexico, evoking many happy memories.
Juan Yerenas founded “El Terrible Juan Café” back in 2015, and in those days you could often find him serving at the bar. In a couple of “dead-time” hours after lunchtime, some workers from offices near the cafe asked him to whip up some Carajillos for an afternoon pick-me-up. These are coffee cocktails but coffee is seldom the star, often taking a backseat to sweet, overpowering liqueurs. It dawned on Juan that he could mix a long-pulled shot of espresso with a little Rompope—he just happened to have some behind the counter—to create a Carajillo-inspired riff on the popular coffee-and-eggnog flavor combination. A new tradition was born.
Yerenas found the drink was immediately popular. It just needed a name for the menu. He settled on “Juamilton”, a mash-up of his own first name (Juan) and the last name of Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, under the promise that by having one after eating, you would rush out to continue your day, like a race car driver refueled at a pit stop.
The Juamilton's ingredients and preparation are really simple, like all good things in life. Here, printed for the first time, is the original Juamilton recipe courtesy of Juan Yerenas:
- 2 ounces espresso (preferably a coffee with a chocolate, caramel, butter, and citrus profile).
- 2 ounces Rompope (traditional flavor with rum).
- 2 ice cubes (or more if desired)
It's that simple! And yet, this great combination offers a soft, comforting note of vanilla up front, while the dark rum flavor mixes with the intensity of the espresso. Serving over ice is essential to bringing out the drink's unexpectedly bright flavors and light texture. The Juamilton makes a great digestif (particularly after enjoying one of Terrible’s famed Bacon Cheese Sandwiches) but it's also lovely as a Saturday morning brunch wake-up call, or as an afternoon cap to a particularly rushed day.
This iced, boozy riff on the eggnog latte is available year-round at any of the three Terrible Juan‘s locations in Guadalajara. But once you try it I think you'll agree: this drink is ready for a much bigger audience on the global stage. What started in Guadalajara is now ready to take on the world, one Juanmilton at a time.
Victor Romero is a freelance journalist and coffee professional based in Guadalajara. This is Victor Romero's first feature for Sprudge.
Photos by Denisse Valentín unless otherwise noted