Dad's Dramatic Cafe Diablo

March 19, 2011
Author Notes

My Dad has made this dramatic after dinner coffee at Christmas for as long as I can remember, and it's become a family tradition. It's a wonderful pyrotechnic display at the table with the lights turned down low, as he ladles the flames from high above the dish, down the length of an entire orange peel spiral studded with cloves. Done correctly, the cloves spit and sparkle, adding to the fireworks. Dad got this recipe from a Chef on Captiva Island, Florida by scribbling it down on a napkin as the Chef prepared it tableside. Many years later, on a trip to Denver, he saw it on a hotel menu and ordered it again, wondering if it could equal his first encounter. When Dad questioned the Chef about a step in the process while he was making it, the Chef asked Dad how on earth he knew about the drink, and Dad told him he learned it from watching a Chef on Captiva. Turns out the Denver Chef learned it from the same guy, whose name happened to be Hassan! This uses 4 different liquors, and tastes terrific, and even though some of the alcohol is burned off - it is not for the faint of heart! - Burnt Offerings

Photo credit: stock photo —Burnt Offerings

Test Kitchen Notes

This spiked and spiced dessert coffee is the perfect finale for a great dinner. The flavors of orange and cinnamon complement the rich coffee taste and are not overwhelmed by the subtle contributions of white rum and brandy. The finished cup of coffee is not too sweet and not too spiked -- the amounts are perfectly balanced. I tried a few variations on the recipe: Using Mexican coffee (decaf) which also resulted in a delicious cup, and adding some dark cocoa and a little cream to another cup to please my chocolate-loving husband. It was quite a hit. Follow Burnt Offerings advice and dim the lights so all can appreciate the spectacular flaming of the alcohol coated orange peel. - JoanG —JoanG

  • Serves 8
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 cup White Rum
  • 3/4 cup Brandy - divided
  • 8 small cinnamon sticks
  • 8 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 cups good, strong, French Roast coffee
  • 1 orange peel, peeled from an orange in one continuous spiral
  • 10-12 cloves - studded into peel at one inch intervals
In This Recipe
  1. Pour the first three liquors, 1/2 cup Brandy, and cinnamon sticks into a large chafing dish or fondue pot with a lid, capable of holding 10 -12 cups of liquid, and heat.
  2. Carefully peel an orange into one, long continuous strip and stud it every inch or so with a whole clove.
  3. When the liquors are hot, carefully hold the orange peel above the dish on a long fork, and using a large spoon or small ladle, pour the liquors down over the orange peel.
  4. Once the orange peel is wet, turn the lights down, and CAREFULLY light a spoonful of the alcohol and pour the flames down the length of the peel. Continue pouring the flames for a minute or two, slightly charring the orange peel.
  5. Drop the orange peel into the dish and cover to extinguish the flames.
  6. Add remaining 1/4 cup brandy, sugar and coffee, stir well, and steep over heat for 5 -10 minutes.
  7. Ladle the coffee and a cinnamon stick into 8 cups and enjoy!

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