If you’re looking for a tasty and exciting libation to celebrate Mardi Gras this year, look no further than café brûlot! This festive coffee cocktail was invented at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans in the 1890s, and is usually made using a special set of silver dishes, including a long-handled ladle for serving the libation while still flaming. However, it’s easy and fun to make café brûlot at home–no special equipment required!
For this drink, fresh citrus peel and whole cinnamon and cloves are combined with brandy and Grand Marnier, which is then set on fire for dramatic effect and to further infuse the alcohol with the toasty flavors of citrus and spice. Hot brewed coffee is then poured on top to extinguish the flames. And while café brûlot is traditionally served plain, I find it most delicious with a topping of gently whipped cream. After all, we’re talking about FAT Tuesday here!
To get the party started, it’s also super fun to let your guests decorate Mardi Gras masks for themselves with this kit!
Next, try your best to take the peel off the lemon and orange in one long spiral. Don’t worry if it breaks into a few pieces, though–the finished drink will be just as delicious. If you like, you can stud the pieces of citrus peel with the whole cloves. Your house should already smell pretty amazing! If you’d like to top the finished drink with a garnish of lemon or orange peel, slice off four thin strips and set them aside.
Put the spices, citrus peel, and sugar cubes in a saucepan, and add the brandy and Grand Marnier. Warm the mixture on the stove just until the sugar cubes have completely dissolved.
After that comes the fun part: carefully use a long match or long-reach lighter to set fire to the drink! Be prepared for the flames to jump up a little bit at first.
To impress your guests, you can lift up a flaming citrus peel and even use a second spoon or ladle to pour more burning liquid down the length of the peel. I love how the lemon peel gets singed just around the edges!
When you’ve had enough of the pyrotechnics, pour on the hot chicory coffee. I adore this stainless steel coffee kettle, which is safe for stovetop use and just the right size for bringing to the table.
Then, just stir and serve! Although demitasse cups are more traditional, I use these simple but elegant Irish Coffee mugs. Divide the mixture between four glasses, spoon the whipped cream on top, and garnish with citrus peel if desired. You can twist the peel into a curlicue before setting it down on the whipped cream if you’re feeling especially fancy.
Lastly, sit down and enjoy! This coffee accented with citrus and spice will warm you from the inside out, and your guests won’t soon forget the fiery show you put on for them.