In Your Cocktail: Café Corazon

Paloma Rosa from Café Corazon.

It has been a hot girl summer for Café Corazon in the Crossroads. The location has slowly been transforming from a Latin coffee shop into a more substantial casual dining and drinking scene thanks to the vision of husband-and-wife team, Curtis Herrera and Miel Castagna-Herrera. 

With their original location on Westport Road still serving their signature coffee drinks and pastries, this family business has been evolving the menu at their larger Crossroads location, transforming it into a place where morning, noon, and some evenings (like First Fridays), you can enjoy snack food specialties from all over Central and South America along with a brand-new drink menu offering cocktails, beer, and wine, all carefully curated to highlight Latinx culture and flavor. 

Curtis—who is Mexican on his father’s side—and Miel—whose father hails from Argentina—opened Café Corazon to show Kansas City how communal, convivial, and colorful Latin coffee can be, offering unique coffee drinks, grounded in Latin culture and made with coffee beans they roast themselves, in addition to traditional tea-based drinks such as yerba mate. 

Then they turned their attention to the food menu, adding breakfast burritos, plant-based biscuits and gravy, empanadas, and tamales, along with a selection of sweet pastries sourced from local Latin makers around Kansas City. Finally, this summer at the Crossroads location only, in addition to being able to add a shot of booze to your coffee, they are now serving three beers, three wines, and seven cocktails.

Two of the beers on offer are from the local Latinx-owned brewery, Rizoma, along with the classic Mexican beer Modelo. The wine selection has a white wine from Portugal, and a red and a sparkling rosé wine that both hail from Chile. 

Reflecting the owner’s roots, the cocktail menu has these classic Latinx-inspired cocktails available year-round. There is the Mojito Classico, Mimosa Classica, Kalimotxo (pronounced CAL-EE-MO-CHO), made with red wine, cinnamon, piloncillo, anise, lemon juice and Mexican coke, and their brunch favorite La Llorona Bloody Maria, which is basically a Bloody Mary made with tequila instead of vodka. Their refreshing Watermelon Mint Mojito, Drunken Samba Limeade, which has been making the rounds on Tik Tok and Instagram this summer, and the pretty and powerful Paloma Rosa, are all being offered this summer as seasonal cocktails. 

The Paloma Rosa cocktail is a joint creation between the general manager, Allison Johnson, and Curtis and Miel. This drink has a gorgeous rosy hue from the hibiscus syrup they make in-house, which adds a refreshing flower power to the Paloma. They use La Gritona Reposado Tequila from a woman-owned and woman-staffed distillery located in Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco, in the cocktail. The owner of La Gritona, Melly Barajas, is one of only 12 female master distillers in Mexico, which is even more reason to order one at Café Corazon or make your own at home.

Paloma Rosa

  • 3 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 5 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1.5 ounces La Gritona Reposado 
  • 1 ounce hibiscus syrup*

In a shaker, combine the grapefruit juice, simple syrup, lime juice, tequila, and ice. Shake well. Pour the hibiscus syrup into the bottom of a rocks glass, then fill with ice. Strain the contents of the shaker into the prepared glass, and garnish with an orange wheel and a sprinkle of dried hibiscus flowers on top.

*Hibiscus Syrup: Take ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers, ½ cup sugar, and 1 cup water. Heat until sugar dissolves, then let it come to room temperature before chilling. Makes almost 1 cup.

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