Monday, June 23, 2014

Cocktail: Spanish Coffee

Spanish Coffee

While reading Jeffrey Morgenthaler's The Bar Book, I was on the lookout for a particular special drink I wanted to make. After reading about Spanish Coffee, I knew it was the one.

Admittedly, this isn't a very summery drink. But that didn't deter me. Tuck it away and make it December if a warm cocktail doesn't inspire you this time of year (but consider that even in the summer, there are cool evenings). 

What caught my eye was Morgenthaler's description of this being uniquely an Oregon cocktail, invented in the 1970s in Portland's Huber's Cafe. I may have lived in Washington, D.C. for 15 years now, but I'm still an Oregon boy at heart. Huber's is Portland's oldest restaurant, established in 1879. It's a wonderfully old-school place; check out the interior. I remember going here for lunch with my parents. 

I'll be honest: any drink involving fire can be a little scary, and this is no exception. Making the drink involves igniting high-alcohol rum and letting it caramelize a sugar rim around the glass. It takes about 2 minutes, so the flame is burning for quite a while and the glass gets hot, so be careful. Also, be sure to use tempered glass. I bought these glass cappuccino mugs just for the occasion, and the fact that I could hold onto their handles instead of the glass while doing this turned out to be ideal.

Spanish Coffee
From The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, adapted from the recipe by Huber's Cafe

Sugar for rimming the glass
1 lime wedge
3/4 oz. 151-proof rum
1/2 oz. triple sec
1 1/2 oz. Kahlúa
3 oz. freshly brewed coffee
Lightly whipped cream (about 2 tbsp.)
Freshly grated nutmeg (garnish)

1. Put the sugar in shallow bowl. Cut a slit in the lime wedge and moisten the rim of a tempered glass with it. Rum the moistened glass rim through the sugar to coat it with sugar, making a sugar band about 1/4-inch wide around the outside edge of the glass.

2. Add the rum and triple sec to the glass and carefully ignite the fumes with a match. (Hold the glass at an angle and bring the lit match in from the side; have a small bowl of water ready to extinguish the match. Use caution when working with fire: consider what's around the flame and make sure there aren't things like wood cupboards or your clothing or hair nearby. Hold the glass at an angle to heat the sugar rim with the flame until the sugar begins to caramelize, about a minute later. Rotate the glass to caramelized the sugar around the rim (be careful, as the glass will get hot).

3. Add the Kahlúa and coffee to the glass, which should extinguish the flame (you can blow it out if if doesn't). Top with lightly whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

1 comment:

  1. What are the chances you can make Spanish Coffee for me every morning instead of Peet's?