What is Cafe Brulot and Why Everyone is Talking About it Now


the story behind cafe brulot
The Waka Life Blog

What is Cafe Brulot and Why Everyone is Talking About it Now

This coffee is on fire. Literally. Read more about this unique New Orleans coffee drink.

The name, brulot, actually means “highly seasoned” or “incendiary,” which is perfectly apt for what this drink truly is. The nickname for this coffee beverage was widely referred to as “devilishly burned coffee.” Just from the name of it, this kind of coffee sounds like a strong, decadent, flavorful type of coffee. Is it?

The history behind cafe brulot

what is cafe brulot

This devilishly burned coffee was invented around the late 1880’s by a man named Jules Alciatore. He was the son of the man who founded and established the restaurant Antione’s in the beautiful city of New Orleans.

The son was inspired by the French cocktail, bon vivant, and created his own version where a sugar cube is doused in Cognac or Brandy and put over an open flame. Due to the mixing of alcohol and fire, the drink would light ablaze. Then immediately it's extinguished in a cup of strong, black coffee.

Cafe brulot was at the height of its popularity during the Prohibition, where a plethora of alcohol was banned. This drink was almost like a cover or substitute for having a little bit of alcohol within your coffee beverage.

What is it made of?

If coffee, alcohol, and sugar sound like a delectable combination to you, then cafe brulot might just be the drink you need. This coffee beverage contains a few ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, a lemon peel, sugar, brandy, and a heaping amount of strong, rich black coffee.

All these special, individual flavors come together to form a nutty and rich cup of coffee.

Watch this video to see cafe brulot in action.

Fun facts about cafe brulot

is cafe brulot any good

1. The preparation of cafe brulot is similar to a magician’s show

Cafe brulot is no ordinary drink. It requires handy work and delicate hands. Those waiters who make this beverage almost make it seem like magic as they prepare it right in front of their dinner guests.

2. This drink is very popular in New Orleans

The drink is highly sought after all throughout New Orleans, and even in Creole restaurants.

3. This drink requires a lot of fire

The main star of the show is that the brandy or cognac, which is literally lit on fire. As you can imagine, the drink then contains a very smokey, rich flavor.

4. It is not available in ordinary or regular restaurants

Cafe brulot is a drink that requires a lot of skill, effort, and special ingredients. You can find this drink scattered around old Creole restaurants and it is still thriving at the very restaurant where cafe brulot was born, Antoine’s Restaurant.

5. People enjoy it to end dinner on a winter evening

People in New Orleans love to drink the cafe brulot after a delicious, hearty meal, especially during a winter night. Don’t ask why this is, but it’s been this way ever since it first came about. 

6. Cafe brulot requires its own special equipment 

You can’t just whip out an ordinary bowl to make this delicious concoction. Cafe brulot requires its own specific, special equipment to be made. For example, a silver bowl, a circular tray, and a very long ladle.

How to make it at home with instant coffee

can you make cafe brulot at home


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 3 oz. brandy or cognac
  • 3 cups of black instant coffee
  • 1 large ladle
  • A fireproof bowl

  • Directions:

    1. Place the cinnamon, cloves, sugar, lemon peel, and brandy or cognac in a metal or glass bowl and heat it on an open flame (vert carefully!).

    2. Do not bring the mixture to a boil, but heat it to a high temperature just as very tiny bubbles begin to form on the outer rim of the mixture.

    3. Take the bowl off the flame and place it on a table and ignite the mixture with a match. Please be extremely careful when completing this step and make sure to have no flammable objects close by.

    4. Use a large ladle to stir the mixture in the bowl for about 2 minutes.

    5. Make your favorite black instant coffee.

    6. Pour your instant coffee into the hot brandy bowl and stir for a few seconds with your ladle until the mixture is combined.

    7. Finally, pour it all out into your favorite mugs and enjoy!

    Cafe brulot isn’t only a drink that can be enjoyed in New Orleans. It can also be made right in your own home! It’s like drinking the most unique cup of coffee while getting a taste of the history of New Orleans.


    Try our instant coffee today. Get it here.

    Waka Coffee & Tea