Shortcut Café Brûlot

Scholar and cookbook author Jessica B. Harris has been a part-time resident of New Orleans for many years. She shared her shortcut recipe for a Cafe Brûlot, which she likes to serve after a meal at her summer home on Martha's Vineyard. Café Brûlot is a signature cocktail of New Orleans, where it's prepared tableside at restaurants in an elaborate process that culminates in pouring flaming, citrus- and cinnamon-infused brandy down a clove-studded orange peel into a special silver-lined punch bowl, then dousing the flames with chicory-flavored coffee. Instead, Harris eschews the fireworks and special equipment, opting for a greatly streamlined drink that's much easier to prepare at home. In her version, warmed orange liqueur and cognac, fresh lemon and lime juice, cinnamon, cloves, and hot coffee come together in a simple but satisfying warming, boozy after-dinner cocktail that can be quickly prepared, served, and savored. You can serve the drink directly from the heatproof bowl it's prepared in, or do as Harris does:  "I mix it all and pour it out of an antique Victorian tea pot." Note this is a very potent drink. "The booze doesn't burn off," Harris cautions. "Serve in demitasse cups. No seconds."

Café Brûlot
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Total Time:
5 mins


  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon resh orange juice (from 1 orange)

  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

  • 4 whole cloves

  • ¾ (6 ounces) orange liqueur (such Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or triple sec)

  • ¼ (2 ounces) cognac

  • 4 cups brewed strong coffee, hot


  1. Stir together lemon juice, orange juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a large heatproof bowl until combined; set aside. Heat orange liqueur and cognac in a small saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add cognac mixture to lemon juice mixture in bowl. Stir in hot coffee, and serve immediately.


Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves before storing leftovers to prevent bitterness from overlong steeping.

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