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Home » How to Make a Dazzling ‘Flaming Spanish Coffee’

Flaming Spanish Coffee Recipe. Try it if you dare.

Practically everyone loves coffee, booze, and fire – but when those three ingredients come together in one dazzling drink, the effect is synergistic. If you want to enrapture your friends with a fiery performance, while simultaneously benefitting from the boost of coffee and the kick of a stiff drink, this is the recipe for you.

What is Spanish Coffee?

While there are variations, in general, this is an exciting coffee cocktail made with coffee liqueur, rum, and coffee (1). It’s often topped in extravagant ways with things like whipped cream, chocolate shavings or syrup, and a maraschino cherry.

Side note – here’s a guide on making your own coffee based liquors.

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What is Flaming Spanish Coffee?

Although the coffee liqueur, rum, and coffee are still present (as well as those exciting toppings!), there is one very important extra step added to the process: FIRE!

That’s right – you light this one on fire. Not only does it create a pretty sweet vibe, but the fire helps to caramelize the sugar on the rim of the glass and bring out a unique flavour in the spices.

To light this drink at room temperature, you need an overproof rum, sometimes labelled 151 proof rum – regular rum (around 80 proof) will not ignite without warming it first. So, are you ready to try this one out? We thought so. Let’s do this.

recipe displaying how to make flaming spanish coffee

There’s a little bit of disagreement as to where Spanish coffee comes from. But according to Willamette Week (2):

Portland’s oldest restaurant did not invent the Spanish coffee – in 1975, third-generation owner Jim Louie stole it from the Fernwood Inn in Milwaukie, who stole it from a bar in Mexico.


  • 120 ml coffee
  • 30-60 ml 151-proof rum
  • 30-60 ml coffee liqueur such as Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • sugar, brown sugar, or superfine sugar
  • whipped or heavy cream
  • stemmed wine glass
  • long BBQ lighter or long matches
  • shallow dish for rimming the glass with sugar



10 minutes


1 glass

How to make Flaming Spanish Coffee

If a Spanish coffee is not exciting enough – try this dazzling flaming Spanish coffee.

Step 1: Pour sugar into a shallow dish. Rub rim of glass with lemon wedge. Press rim into sugar to get a good, even coating.

Step 2: Brew coffee.

Step 3: Pour rum into wine glass.

Step 4: Tilt wine glass at a 45-degree angle. Using long matches or lighter, ignite the rum.

Step 5: Use index and middle fingers to grab stem of glass, gently swirl flaming rum in a circular motion to caramelize sugar.

Step 6: Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon into glass, then quickly add liqueur and hot coffee to rum.

Step 7: Optional: top drink with cream, whipped cream, or both, along with more nutmeg and cinnamon.

Well Done, Conquistador, Well Done!

And there you have it. This one is intense enough that you should be giving yourself a pat on the back. Don Quixote would be proud! After all, it’s not every day that you get to make a cup of coffee and handle fire at the same time.

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.

If you’ve tried it, we want to know how it went. Leave a comment. Even better, if you’ve got pictures, let us SEE how it went! Please? Pretty please, with caramelized sugar on top? More coffees from around the world here: https://www.homegrounds.co/ca/coffee-drinks/


Although Huber’s Cafe in Portland, Oregon is famous for the theatrical table side preparation of their signature drink, The Willamette Week, an independent newspaper in Portland, traced the recipe back to its roots in Mexico (2).

A Spanish coffee has between 200 and 400 calories, depending on a few variables – notably the quantity of whipped cream, sugar, and sweet liqueur you use.

Coffee with rum is a type of liqueur coffee, an idea so natural that it has many names in many countries. The Italians call it caffe correto – “coffee corrected” by the addition of a little grappa, sambuca or brandy. The French often add a splash of brandy or anisette to the bottom of the cup after sipping their coffee, where the warm ceramic brings out the fragrance of the alcohol; this is known as a pousse-café, or “push coffee.” In Spain, it’s typically made with rum and called a carajillo.

Carajillo means a drink made with strong coffee, sugar, and alcohol – usually rum, because of the Spanish connection with the Caribbean, but also with brandy, whiskey, or anisette. In Mexico, the carajillo is made with Licor 43, a sweet Mexican liqueur combining spices, citrus, and vanilla flavours.

Many famous restaurants and bars use triple sec in addition to coffee liqueur and 151 rum. Because oranges are linked with Spanish culture – the Valencia orange, named for the city in southern Spain, is the world’s most widely used juice variety – it’s a nice historical tie-in to use a splash of orange liqueur. Besides, it’s absolutely delicious.

While you can use high-end orange liqueurs such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, the intense flavours of the drink can overpower their subtlety. Triple sec adds the flavour without the price.

  1. Kim127. (2007, May 30). Spanish Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.food.com/recipe/spanish-coffee-231344
  2. Korfhage, M. (2016). Huber’s Historic Spanish Coffee Is an Institution, But Not As Old As You Might Think. Retrieved from https://www.wweek.com/restaurants/2016/12/20/hubers-historic-spanish-coffee-is-an-institution-but-not-as-old-as-you-might-think/
Alex Mastin
My world consists of coffee, travel, water sports and dogs...sometimes all at the same time! I spent years traveling and working in various coffee establishments, and it was on my travels that my love affair with coffee began. I've been involved in every part of the coffee production process from farm to cup and love nothing more than sharing my knowledge of my favorite morning brew with the world.

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