It’s no surprise that at Arnaud’s in New Orleans, the signature after dinner drink is as much an exhibition as it is an exquisite cocktail. Café Brûlot means “burnt brandy,” and the folks at Arnaud’s don’t disappoint on the open flame front — they set brandy and Curaçao on fire and ladle the flaming liquid ceremoniously over a spiraling orange peel. Finish your meal with a cocktail and a show. Charles Abbyad, long-time maître d’ at Arnaud’s, shows us how.
- 1 two-inch stick of cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 tablespoons slivered or grated orange peel
- ¼ cup slivered or grated lemon peel
- 3 sugar cubes (or roughly a tablespoon)
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 tablespoons Curaçao, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 3 cups hot, strong black coffee
- 1 long fireplace match
Peel a lemon, cut the peel into slivers and add the peel to the bowl.
Peel an orange halfway, in a continuous curl that remains attached to the orange.
Stud the orange peel with cloves in a cross pattern, pressing cloves about an inch apart.
In a copper Brûlot bowl or chafing dish, combine the cinnamon, cloves and citrus peels. Place the bowl over medium heat. Using the back of a large ladle, crush the spices and peels together.
Remove the bowl from the burner. Add the brandy and Curaçao to the ladle.
Light the liquids in the ladle with a long match.
Using a ladle, pour the flaming brandy down the orange spiral and into the bowl.
As the flames are beginning to fade, slowly add the three cups of hot black coffee.
Add sugar to the mixture.
Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
Add a piece of lemon peel to each Brûlot cup before pouring the cocktail.
Using a straining ladle, pour Café Brûlot into Brûlot or demitasse cups, excluding spices and citrus peels. Serve immediately.