This spicy after dinner drink has long been a favorite in traditional New Orleans restaurants. It gets its name from the French for “burnt brandy.” In New Orleans, it is usually prepared in an elaborate tableside ritual, with the server pouring the flaming mixture through the citrus peel into the serving glass, which is often decorated with a picture of the devil, as another name for this drink is “café diabolique.”
¼ cup cognac
1 — 2 dashes triple sec
2 cups very strong, hot coffee
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp sugar
Whipped cream, to garnish (optional)
Brew 2 cups of strong coffee and keep very hot. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix the cognac, triple sec, citrus zests, cloves, cinnamon stick, and sugar. Gently heat the mixture on the stove to release the flavors of the spices and citrus zests, just until small bubbles appear at the edges. Do not bring to a boil. Flambé the liqueur mixture, remove from the heat, and stir gently.
[Chef’s Note: The purpose of flambé is to quickly envelop a dish containing alcohol in flames, which burns off the alcohol and develops a richer flavor in the liqueur(s). It is important that the liquids in the pan be below the boiling point, so once small bubbles appear at the edge of the pan you are ready to flambé. Use a long match or grill lighter, and introduce the flame to the edge of the pan rather than the liquid itself. The vapors should ignite immediately. Once the alcohol has burned off, turn off the heat, stir gently, and serve.]
Prepare the two cups of hot coffee. Filter the cognac mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve, pour it over the coffee, and decorate with whipped cream and an additional lemon or orange twist, if desired.
Recipe by Chef Mark Tafoya