There's something about this time of year that makes a well-crafted cocktail feel like a special occasion. It's a present you can buy for yourself without feeling selfish. Even better when that drink is warming, and not just because of brandy or some other spirit but because of a freshly drawn shot of steaming espresso.
Last night I was at The Wild Detectives, checking out the stylish new menu that features comic strip panels alongside dishes and drinks, and I ordered the Carajillo as an alternative to the Irish coffee. This is where you wonder, "Isn't that an Irish coffee pictured above?" And you're right. My photography skills have once again failed me, and I've decided the blurry picture of a half-consumed espresso drink is not fit for your consumption.
So imagine that familiar espresso shot glass filled with dark java, a twist of lemon lurking beneath the surface and the hot burn of brandy filling your nostrils. The flavor is familiar, but the bite of alcohol is more intense than with an Irish coffee. It drinks with a little more sophistication, and you don't have to wipe whipped cream off your lip.
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Zip up your favorite hoodie and sip a Carajillo on the back porch of Oak Cliff's favorite cultural hub. Who knows, you soon could be writing like Baroja. Apparently the man had a taste for such things.