Tag Archives: Brandy

Warm Up & Wake Up with Cafe Brulot

11 Dec

What could be more sublime than to taste
the delights of heaven while beholding the
terrors of hell?” 

— John Ringling of circus fame, on tasting café brulôt


The ceremonial rite of preparing café brulôt was developed from the custom of French bon vivants who liked to poise a spoon holding a sugar lump drenched in cognac over a demitasse of dripped coffee. This was set alight and kept burning until just before the sugar began to caramelize, then it was lowered into the cup. In 1890, Jules Alciatore of Antoine’s conceived the idea of placing the brandy in a dish with lemon peel, lumps of sugar, and spices then adding fireworks. Sometimes, the café brulôt was served in a hollowed out orange skin, the rind adding piquancy to the spicy drink. Later, the drink later became a popular way to disguise alcohol during Prohibition. 

“Usually you have café brulôt after a big
meal where you’ve already had drinks,
several bottles of wine and possibly even
champagne. By the time you’ve drunk the
brulot, you’re wide awake and dead drunk
at the same time.”

Jon Newlin, New Orleans gastronome & bon vivant


1 stick of cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1 orange peel, taked from the orange in one long piece
1/4 cup thinly slivered orange peel
1/4 cup thinly slivered orange peel
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup brandy
2 Tablespoons orange flavored liquor
3 cups hot, strong black coffee

Combine cinnamon, cloves, slivered citrus peels, and sugar in a chafing dish or a cafe brulot bowl over low heat.  Muddle together as sugar dissolves.  Add brandy and orange liquor and increase the heat.  Mix well.  Light the mixture on fire.  Ladle the flaming mixture down the intact orange peel for a more exciting presentation.  Add hot coffee to flaming mixture and serve in cafe brulot cups or demi-tasse cups.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum
has a cafe brulot bowl and cups on display in its Louisiana Exhibit.  Reproductions of Antoine’s Restaurant 1890’s  Café Brulôt cups with the devil design can be found at Adler’s website.  Café Brulôt can be served any time of the year and waiters actually put the flame on the tablecloth.  Some waiters serving Café Brulôt can write a patron’s name in flaming liquid on the tablecloth.  To hear Galatoire’s waiter Gilberto Eyzaguirre’s oral history with the Southern Foodways Alliance, click here.

Figs in Brandy for Thanksgiving

24 Nov



My radio air name was once The Rockin’ Fig (no lie), so I know a little something about these sweet little rascals. Yes, I love me some good old fresh figs. Our friends the Lehman’s in Mississippi had fig trees in their yard, but that source is out of reach now that we are in sunny FL. Never fear, my figgy friends … I will find some before you know it. Can’t wait to give this one a try!

Preserving figs in citric acid and brandy helps prevent the growth of microorganisms in the fruit, and boiling the mixture in canning jars produces an airtight seal. If you have leftover fig syrup when you are finished canning, strain and refrigerate it to drizzle over ice cream or to stir into iced tea.

2 lbs. dried figs (preferably calimyrna),
   soaked in water and refrigerated overnight
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups brandy
1 tsp. citric acid

1. Drain the figs, then transfer to a 4-quart saucepan and cover with 6 cups water. Bring water to a boil over a high heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine, and return to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup brandy. Bring mixture back to a boil, then remove it from the heat and set aside.

2. Place four 1-pint canning jars along with their bands and lids in a 6-quart pot of boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. With tongs, transfer the jars, bands, and lids to a kitchen towel on the counter. Let air-dry. When the jars are dry, add 1/4 tsp. citric acid to each. Using a slotted spoon, remove the figs from the saucepan and pack them into the jars. Then pour the brandy syrup over the figs, leaving 1″ of space below the rims of the jars. (Pour in more brandy if the syrup does not reach the top of the figs.) Wipe the rims of the jars with a hot damp towel. Cover and seal each jar with a lid and screw the bands on tightly.

3. Place the jars in a large pot fitted with a rack; pour in enough water to cover the jars by at least 3″. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil for 20 minutes. (When using this recipe at altitudes of 1,001 to 6,000 feet, add 20 more minutes of processing time; above 6,000 feet, add another 5 minutes.) Turn off the heat; let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a kitchen towel and let cool for 6 hours. Check the seals and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Refrigerate after opening.

http://www.calfreshfigs.com/ for more information