Cafe Corretto (recipe for Italian Alcoholic Coffee Drink!)

Have you ever needed a little boost after a hard day? The Cafe Corretto is your best option without any concerns, an Italian “corrected coffee” that combines the intense flavor of espresso with the satisfying appeal of alcohol. 

Corretto Coffee is a traditional Italian coffee beverage that takes a shot of espresso and “corrects” it with a small amount of grappa or brandy, giving it a bold, complex flavor and a warming kick that’s sure to satisfy your senses.

In this guide, I’ll dive deep into the World of Cafe Corretto. I’ll discuss the brief history and variations of this drink and what sorts of alcohol go well with this classic Italian beverage.

Cafe Corretto

History and the Origins of Cafe Corretto

The History of Caffè Corretto can be traced back to Italy, where coffee and alcohol have long been popular beverages. The exact origin of the drink remains unknown, though it may have originated in northern Italy, where Grappa is a popular spirit.

In Italy, coffee has a long and rich history, dating back to the 16th century when the first coffee shops began to appear in Venice. Over the centuries, Italian coffee culture has developed into a unique and sophisticated tradition, with a wide range of coffee beverages that are enjoyed throughout the country.

Italian farmers are often attributed to the innovation of combining grappa or brandy with Espresso, as they have a long history of having a shot of their homemade spirits alongside a cup of strong coffee.

As time passed, the drink became popular among Italians, and now Cafe Corretto can be found in cafes and bars worldwide. Still, its origins remain firmly rooted in Italian history and culture. 

Also Read: 30 Different types of Espresso drinks

Cafe Corretto Recipe

Cafe Corretto is a popular Italian coffee beverage that is made by adding a shot of liquor, usually grappa or brandy, to a freshly brewed espresso.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine


  • 1 Shot Espresso Shot
  • 5 mL Grappa Or Brandy
  • Cocoa Powder (optional)


  • To prepare a perfect shot of Cafe Corretto, you'll need a perfect Es[presso shot. Grind your beans fresh and pull a single shot of Espresso.
    If you don't have an Espresso machine you can use other brewing methods like French Press, Drip or Moka Pot. Just make sure to prepare a strong and concentrated cup of coffee by using more coffee grounds and less water.
  • Add the Grappa or Brandy right before sipping to prevent the alcohol from vaporizing.
    The ideal amount of Grappa is 5mL per shot of Espresso. However, you can adjust it according to your taste and preference

Tips for preparing the best Cafe Corretto

  • High-quality espresso is the hidden key to a classy Corretto Coffee. For a perfect match with the alcohol, you’ll need a flavorful, freshly pulled Espresso shot.
  • Although grappa is undoubtedly the traditional alcoholic beverage for a Cafe Corretto, you may try it with amaretto, brandy, or something like Bailey’s Irish Cream.
  • Drink it right after adding the Brandy otherwise, the hot espresso shot will vaporize the Alcohol rapidly. That’s why in most Cafes Grappa and Espresso shots are served in separate glasses so you can mix them right before taking the sip.

Variations of Cafe Corretto

Cafe Corretto is a delightful and adaptable drink that can be customized to suit everyone’s tastes. If you don’t like brandy or grappa you can pair Caffe Correto with other alcoholic drinks, such as Amaretto, Sambuca, Cognac, and Irish. 

Sambuca Corretto

It’s known as “Cafe Corretto Alla Sambuca” in Italian cafes, and it is prepared with anise-flavored alcohol. This variation is popular in southern Italy.

The sambuca gives the coffee a distinct licorice flavor and a slightly sweet aroma.

Amaretto Corretto

Amaretto Corretto is a popular variation, particularly in the northern regions of Italy where amaretto liqueur is produced.

Amaretto is a sweet almond-flavored liqueur that is typically made from a blend of apricot pits, almonds, and other botanicals, which are steeped in alcohol and then distilled.

The amaretto gives the coffee a distinct almond flavor and a slightly sweet aroma.

Maraschino Corretto

Maraschino liqueur originated from Balkan Countries and is a clear, sweet liqueur made from the distillation of Marasca cherries and their pits, and it has a distinct cherry flavor.

The Maraschino gives the coffee a sweet and fruity flavor, and the combination of the cherry liqueur and coffee creates a delicious and indulgent drink.

Irish Corretto

It is an Irish variation of Cafe Corretto, that is “corrected” with a small amount of Irish whiskey.

The Irish whiskey gives the coffee a distinct smoky flavor and a slightly sweet aroma.

Mocha Corretto

For a sweeter and chocolaty variation, you can add a small amount of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder to your espresso before adding the alcohol.

The combination of espresso, grappa, and chocolate creates a decadent and comforting drink that is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Read a guide on Cafe Mocha

How Cafe Corretto is served at Cafes?

Caffè Corretto is typically served as an after-dinner drink at cafes and restaurants throughout Italy.

Mostly in cafes, the Espresso shot and Grappa are served separately, allowing you to mix them according to your taste.

Here’s a tip to drink Caffe Corretto like a pro!

Add a little Grappa to the espresso shot and drink it.

Leave a little Espresso in the cup and add the remaining Grappa. Swirl the cup to rinse all the remaining Espresso and drink it again. This is known as Rexentin and this is how locals drink Espresso Corretto.

Caffe Corretto serving

Also Read: Why is Espresso served with water

Final Thoughts

Caffè Corretto is more than just a coffee drink. With just a small addition of Grappa or Brandy, this classic Italian Espresso transforms into a whole new world of indulgence and flavor.

Whether you’re looking for a bold and bitter Grappa Corretto, a sweet and nutty Amaretto Corretto, or a decadent and chocolatey Mocha Corretto, there’s a variation to suit every taste and occasion.

Traditionally, Cafe Corretto has been prepared with Grappa, Brandy, Sacumba, Irish Whiskey, and Rum; however, you can use any type of alcohol, but avoid sour and bitter ones as they don’t go well with espresso.

Personally, I am not a big fan of Espresso Corretto as I avoid Alcoholic Beverages but this drink can be a good cultural experience whenever you visit Italy.

Also Read about other related Espresso based drinks


When Should You Drink Caffè Corretto?

Traditionally, espresso corretto is enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage or a late-night libation.
Since this beverage contains alcohol, consume it after evening hours and in moderation.

How’s Cafe Corretto Different From Espresso Martini? 

Both Cafe Corretto and Espresso Martini are alcoholic beverages made with espresso, although their ingredients, preparation, and origin are different.
Espresso Martinis are typically prepared with Vodka instead of Grappa like those at Cafe Corretto, which results in a different taste and appearance

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.

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