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Home » Spanish Coffee Recipe: A Flaming Cocktail For The Daring!

Spanish Coffee Recipe: A Flaming Cocktail For The Daring!

Almost everyone loves coffee, booze, and fire. But the effect is synergistic when those three ingredients come together in one dazzling drink. Try this flaming Spanish coffee recipe to impress your friends with a fiery performance while simultaneously benefitting from the boost of coffee and the kick of a stiff drink.

What You Need

  • 120 ml brewed coffee
  • 30 ml 151-proof rum
  • 30 ml Triple Sec
  • 60 ml coffee liqueur
  • Lemon wedge
  • Super-fine sugar
  • Lightly whipped cream, for topping
  • Grated nutmeg, for garnish
  • Wine glass
  • Long matches or BBQ lighter

At a Glance


10 mins


One drink (240 ml)

What Is Spanish Coffee?

Spanish coffee is one of our favourite cocktails with coffee, perfect for sipping on a cool day. Though there are regional variations, the most basic includes brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, and rum. It is famously prepared as a flaming cocktail, adding a caramelised sugar rim and exciting presentation.

Spanish coffee UK recipe

Spanish coffee is particularly popular in the rainy Pacific Northwest, where it is the signature drink at Huber’s Cafe, in Portland, Oregon. However, we can trace its roots to Mexico (1). Here in the UK, the Spanish coffee is a little less well-known, especially when compared to its Irish counterpart.

What’s In A Spanish Coffee?

This Spanish coffee is not for the faint of heart, with overproof rum, Triple Sec, coffee liqueur, and brewed coffee. This drink will fire you up – quite literally, if you opt for the flaming variation.

Choosing The Best Coffee

Use any favourite coffee for this spiked coffee drink. Our recommendation is a medium roast with a robust flavour that enhances without overpowering. A blend or single origin from Central or South America with sweet flavours of nuts and caramel is an excellent choice. Consider decaf if you plan to enjoy this as a dinner drink.

Choosing The Alcohol

The brands of liquor you select for your Spanish coffee ingredients are up to you, but there are some things to consider. If you want to make a flaming Spanish coffee, it’s important to use a 151-proof rum, which has a much higher alcohol content than normal (2).

Any coffee liqueur is suitable. Kahlua and coffee is a popular combination because Kahlua is inexpensive and readily available. But if you want to make a vegan version of this drink, use Tia Maria.

Prefer vodka to rum in your coffee drinks? Try making a White Russian coffee instead.

Triple Sec is an orange liqueur from France. It’s not mandatory in Spanish coffee but adds a wonderful orange aroma. Some recipes call for higher-end orange liqueurs such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but the intense flavours of the drink can overpower their subtlety. This adds the flavour without the price (3).

How To Make A Spanish Coffee Drink

Making Spanish coffee is easy, especially if you don’t want to light it on fire. For a basic version, skip steps one and three, and just pre-heat your serving glass with a bit of hot water. But if you want to put on a show, follow all five steps below. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

1. Prepare The Sugar Rim On The Glass

Rub the rim of a long-stemmed wine glass with a lemon wedge. Press the rim into a shallow bowl of superfine sugar and twist it to get an even coating. Shake off any excess.

Pro Tip: If you plan to make a flaming Spanish coffee, use tempered glass. While a long-stem wine glass is traditional, you can also use an Irish coffee mug.

2. Add Rum And Triple Sec

Add the high-proof rum and Triple Sec to the sugar-rimmed glass.

3. Put On A Fiery Show

Here’s the fun part!

Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and use long matches, a barbecue lighter, or a kitchen torch to ignite the liquor. Using your index and middle fingers to hold the stem of the glass, slowly rotate it in a circular motion. The flames will warm the glass and caramelise the sugar around the rim. The fire will go out naturally in about a minute.

4. Add Coffee And Liqueur

Add the brewed hot coffee and coffee liqueur to the warmed glass, which now features a caramelised rim.

Pro Tip: You can use any brewing method to make the coffee. Opt for a metal-filtered method like a French press or stovetop espresso maker for a more powerful coffee flavour and fuller body. Use a drip coffee machine or pour over dripper for a lighter body and milder flavour.

5. Add Topping And Garnish

Top the drink with whipped cream and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. You can also add a maraschino cherry for visual appeal. Serve immediately.

Pro Tip: Store bought whipped cream is acceptable, but for a more delicious experience, whip your own heavy cream to just below the stiff peaks stage. The slightly softer whipped cream melts into the drink, giving it a wonderful creamy texture.

Final Thoughts

This coffee cocktail 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.

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 nutmeg on top?


Coffee in Spanish is cafe (pronounced ka-fay). If you want to order at a coffee shop in Spanish, ordering a cafe will get you a simple drip coffee. For a fancier choice, try the Spanish Latte, also called cafe con leche, which translates as “coffee with milk.”

No, you can’t make a non-alcoholic version of Spanish coffee, especially not if you want to include a fiery display. Alcohol is a key component. However, a hot coffee flavoured with cinnamon sticks, dried orange peel, and brown sugar and topped with whipped cream offers a similar warming appeal.

Carajillo coffee is a cocktail 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 delicious Mexican liqueur combining spices, citrus, and vanilla flavours. 

  1. Korfhage, M. (2016, December 20). 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/
  2. MasterClass. (2021, June 7). Understanding Alcohol Proof: How Is Alcohol Proof Measured? Retrieved from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/understanding-alcohol-proof
  3. McKirdy, T. (2021, December 3). What’s the Difference Between Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Curaçao, and Triple Sec? Retrieved from https://vinepair.com/articles/differences-cointreau-triple-sec-grand-marnier/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.

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