Caraballo Cocktail Recipe

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Caraballo Cocktail Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Caraballo Cocktail is a modern creation, inspired by the vibrant nightlife and tropical flavors of Miami. It's a favorite among those who enjoy a balance of sweet and sour in their cocktails, with a hint of spice to keep things interesting. The name 'Caraballo' is a nod to the Cuban heritage that greatly influences Miami's culture and cuisine.

How Caraballo Cocktail Tastes?

The Caraballo Cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and spicy. The sweetness of the pineapple juice is balanced by the tartness of the lime, while the jalapeno gives it a surprising kick. The rum adds a smooth, rich undertone that ties all the flavors together.

Interesting facts about Caraballo Cocktail

  • The Caraballo Cocktail is named after a popular Cuban surname, reflecting Miami's Cuban influence.
  • Despite its tropical flavors, the Caraballo is enjoyed year-round.
  • The addition of jalapeno gives this cocktail a unique twist, making it a standout in any cocktail menu.


White Rum

  • Why 2 oz?: It's the core spirit; too little and you won't taste it, too much and it overpowers.
  • No rum, no party: Without it, you'd have a spicy, sweet, non-alcoholic juice. Substitute with a different spirit, like vodka for a neutral taste or tequila for a Mexican twist, and you've got a different character!

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

  • 1 oz tailor-made: It provides sweetness and tartness, complementing the rum. Too much can make it overly sweet, too little and the drink lacks fruitiness.
  • Pineapple who?: Substitute with mango juice for a tropical change, or apple juice for a less exotic, but still delicious variation.

Alex Green

Lime Juice

  • A half ounce of zest: Lime adds zing and balances the sweet. Tip the scales and it becomes too tart; not enough and it's a sugar rush.
  • Sour Power: No lime means loss of that tangy punch. Lemon juice can provide a similar kick but with a different citrus note.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

  • The sweet spot: Half an ounce rounds out the flavors. More sweetener, and it's candy; less, and you might pucker up from the tartness.
  • Syrup swap: Use honey for a floral note or agave for a smooth sweetness; they'll both add their unique twist!

Emma Rose


  • One slice to spice: Heat adds depth and contrast. Too many slices and your cocktail bites back; not enough and it may seem tame.
  • No jala-peño, no cry: Skip it for a gentler drink or switch for a dash of hot sauce for a smoother heat integration.

Alex Green

Pineapple Slice

  • For garnish: It's a preview of the flavors to come and adds visual appeal. No pineapple slice, and it just looks less inviting.
  • Accessorize: Opt for a lime wheel or a sprig of mint for a different look with a hint of extra flavor. "No pineapple, no problem!"

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Caraballo Cocktail Drink

  1. In a shaker, muddle the jalapeno slice.
  2. Add the rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh pineapple juice for the best flavor.
  • Be careful when handling jalapenos, as they can cause skin irritation.

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled shrimp: The slightly sweet and fruity flavor pairs well with seafood, especially when it's grilled with a spicy or tangy sauce.
  • Ceviche: The bright acidity of the lime juice in the cocktail complements the freshness of ceviche.

Spicy Appetizers

  • Jalapeno poppers: Mirror the cocktail's jalapeno kick with these spicy, cheesy bites.
  • Spicy wings: The cocktail's sweetness helps cool down the heat from a spicy wing.

Light Desserts

  • Fruit tarts: The sweetness and acid from the cocktail can cut through the richness of a creamy fruit tart.
  • Lemon sorbet: The citrus in the cocktail and the sorbet will echo each other, making for a refreshing palate cleanser.

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What you could change in Caraballo Cocktail

  • If you prefer a less spicy cocktail, you can replace the jalapeno with cucumber for a refreshing twist.
  • For a non-alcoholic version, substitute the rum with coconut water.

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And of course - twists🍹

Spicy Mango Caraballo

  • Ingredients: Replace pineapple juice with mango juice.
  • Recipe: Muddle jalapeño, then add rum, mango juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake with ice and strain.
  • Taste Change: Expect a richer, tropical sweetness with an exotic mango twist that hug the rum.

Caraballo Cooler

  • Ingredients: Add mint leaves and club soda.
  • Recipe: Muddle jalapeño and mint, add rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake, strain, top with club soda.
  • Taste Change: Mint brings freshness, and soda adds fizz, turning it into a more refreshing, lighter sip perfect for hot summer days.

Hemingway Caraballo

  • Ingredients: Substitute simple syrup with maraschino liqueur and add grapefruit juice.
  • Recipe: Muddle jalapeño, then add rum, pineapple juice, a splash of grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur. Shake with ice and strain.
  • Taste Change: Hemingway's twist introduces a complex cherry note and bitter edge from the grapefruit that plays well with the spicy and sweet notes.

In case you forgot basics how to make Caraballo Cocktail

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Caraballo Cocktail

What kind of rum is best to use for the Caraballo Cocktail?

A high-quality white rum is recommended for the Caraballo Cocktail. However, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Is there a specific type of glassware recommended for serving the Caraballo Cocktail?

A chilled cocktail glass is recommended, but you could also use a martini glass or a highball glass.

Can I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh lime juice?

Whilst you can use bottled lime juice, using fresh lime juice will give a more natural and fresh taste.

What makes this cocktail a 'cocktail'? Could I just mix the ingredients in any order?

The balance and order of ingredients are what make it a cocktail. The steps of the recipe are designed to create a balance of flavors. While you could technically mix the ingredients in any order, the taste might be different.

What can I pair with this cocktail?

The Caraballo Cocktail pairs well with spicy or savory appetizers. It also works well with seafood dishes, thanks to its tropical flavors.

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