Cocktail of the Week: Arnaud’s Café Brûlot


As much a ceremony as a drink, Café Brûlot has put the flaming touch on many New Orleans dinners. Legend has it that the famous buccaneer Jean Lafitte originated this spectacular after-dinner drink. In French Brûlot translates as “burnt brandy”. At Arnaud’s, a special Brûlot ladle that strains out spices is used to pour the drink into traditional tall, narrow Brûlot cups.

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 cups

½ cup brandy

2 tablespoons Curaçao, Grand Marnier or Cointreau

3 cups hot, strong black coffee

1 long, fireplace match

In a copper Brûlot bowl or chafing dish, combine the cinnamon, cloves, citrus peel and sugar cubes. Place over medium heat and crush together, using the back of a large ladle. Add the brandy and Curaçao to the ladle, light with a long match, and then pour the flaming liqueurs into the pan. Stir thoroughly and simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As the flames begin to die out, gradually add the black coffee. Ladle into Brûlot or demitasse cups, leaving the spices and citrus peels behind and serve at once.

Flambé Showmanship

As part of a never-ending show, Arnaud’s waiters peel a long, continuous curl of orange peel and stud it with cloves every inch in a cross pattern. The curl is held over the Brûlot bowl and flaming brandy is poured from a ladle, down the spiral and into the bowl.

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