How Spanish Coffee became Portland’s go-to drink

Laura Hampson
Photo by Zach Savinar on Unsplash

Portland, Oregon, is fast becoming the coolest city in the US.

A hipster haven, Portland's downtown area is crammed full of vintage boutiques, vegan hang-outs, micro breweries, hidden venues, experimental coffee houses, and rough around the edges dive bars.

And what are the cool, mustachioed locals sipping at these iconic dive bars? Well, when they're not chugging back craft beer, it's Spanish Coffee they'll be ordering.

Made with rum, Kahlua, triple sec, hot coffee, whipped cream and grated nutmeg, Spanish Coffee is a taste sensation.

Portland native and mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler told the Standard: “The Spanish Coffee is a very Portland drink, and is the official drink of Huber's Cafe in Portland, Oregon.

“It was reputedly stolen from a bar in Wisconsin, who stole it from a bar in Mexico. But Portland is the city that the drink now calls home.

“As Portland has risen in popularity I've seen more and more buzz out there about the Spanish Coffee.”

Originating in the early ‘70s, Spanish Coffee has been a long-time drink of Oregon's finest.

Below, Morgenthaler reveals how you can make your own Spanish Coffee at home.

Spanish Coffee


  • 21mls Lemon Hart 151-proof rum
  • 7mls Bols triple sec
  • 42mls Kahlua
  • Hot coffee from a French press
  • Lightly whipped cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg


Moisten the rim of an Irish Coffee glass or small wine glass with a lime wedge. Dip rim in a shallow bowlful of sugar to coat; shake gently to discard any excess.

Add rum and light on fire, holding the glass at an angle and turning slowly to caramelise the sugar.

Add triple sec, Kahlua and coffee. Finish with cream and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.


Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the author of Drinking Distilled, you can buy it here.