For more than a century, both Antoine’s and Galatoire’s, in New Orleans, have been serving refined French-Creole cuisine in their gilded dining rooms. The epitome of their old-world, over-the-top grandeur? Café Brûlot .
Café Brulot Diabolique, or “Devilishly Burned Coffee,” was invented at Antoine’s Restaurant by Jules Alciatore, the son of the restaurant’s founder. It became especially popular during the Prohibition as a means of concealing alcohol.
Dining in New Orleans is hardly ever ordinary, and ordering Café Brulot is the perfect way to ensure an exciting finale to an amazing meal. In the original recipe a server ladles flaming brandy-spiked coffee down a spiral of orange zest into a silver bowl heated by a ring of fire.
Don’t try that at home, especially on Valentine's Day. The last thing you need is your partner's hair on fire before the real big event (wink) takes place. So skip the theatrics and play it safe by making it this way. Here, the spice- and citrus-infused spirits are ignited in the saucepan, the coffee added, and the glowing drink served in demitasse cups. It’s a less risky—but equally astounding—spectacle.
Should you find your calling in preparing Cafe Brulot, you might want to bid on these at auction:
But before, you might want to pay a visit to New Orleans and see how the pros make it.
Spiced Coffee with Brandy and Orange
- 1 orange
- 12 whole cloves
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1/3 cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
- 3 (2-inch-long) strips of lemon zest
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 3 cups hot very strong brewed coffee (preferably chicory coffee blend or French roast)
Remove zest from orange in a single spiral with a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife. Stud orange zest with cloves. Add to a wide heavy medium saucepan with brandy, liqueur, lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar. Warm through over medium heat, stirring. Tilt pan over gas burner (or use a long match) to ignite carefully (flames will shoot up). While flames subside, slowly pour in hot coffee. Ladle into small cups (preferably demitasse).