Brûlot Charentais – Flaming Coffee
In the Cognac-region, Brûlot Charentais (La Flamme des Anges or Angel’s Flames) is a typical way to end a meal.
The delicious combination of fine quality Cognac, rich brown coffee and beautiful blue flames provides a memorable end to a special evening.
Brûlot Charentais brightens up every occasion in something special, for example when you celebrate Christmas or a birthday.
History of Brulot Charentais
Brulot Charentais is 3 centuries old! In times gone by, most people used to take a hot drink or infusion, before going to bed. In the Cognac area, many opted for a wine topped off with burning alcohol, which had the effect of producing ‘mulled’ wine. The flames symbolised ‘festivity’ either during or after a meal.
For special occasions – baptisms, communions, marriages, birthdays, Christmas, Easter and the like, the Charentais wine farmers, would add a slug of neat Cognac, straight from the cask, to the surface. This Cognac, strong in alcohol, was set alight, reducing its strength and producing striking blue flames. Thus Brulot Charentais was born.
The sugar in the saucer would soak up any ‘stray drops’ of Cognac which also combusted, and blended together, formed a liqueur rich in Cognac flavours. The coffee’s taste was transformed by combining with the sugar and Cognac. The coffee reaches drinking temperature due to the combustion. The recipe preserves the aroma and flavour of the Cognac, whilst reducing the strength (down to about 2 – 3 percent).
Ingredients for Brulot Charentais – Angel’s Flames – French Flambé Coffee:
- 1 cup cold brewed coffee
- 1 1/2 fluid ounces cognac (Brulot Cognac -high alcohol 58-60%)
- 2-3 lumps of sugar
Preparation of Brulot Charentais – Angel’s Flames – French Flambé Coffee:
- You need HEAT RESISTANT earthenware cups, saucers, and a heatproof coaster. You need 4 cls of cognac, but the Zaar recipe editor would not allow me to post that – which is about a 1 jigger measure.
- Place the cup in the saucer (it is preferable to put the saucer on a plate or tray).
- Fill the coffee cup with cold coffee, up to two centimetres below the top of the cup, then slowly pour 1 cl of the Cognac onto the coffee (best to use the back of a tea/coffee spoon, so it floats and can catch light).
- Pour the remaining 3 cls of Cognac into the saucer, then place 2 to 3 sugar cubes in the cognac.
- Light the sugar cubes with a match; the Cognac will slowly ignite, heating the coffee and combining with the sugar to form a Cognac liqueur. (It is important to let the Cognac burn and extinguish naturally; if not, too much alcohol will remain in the mixture, and the special ‘alchemy’ between the coffee and the Cognac will be lost.).
- When the flame has extinguished, wait for a little while for the handle to cool down, place the cup on the coaster. Empty all or part of the contents of the saucer into the cup (depending on personal taste and sweetness required).
- Your Brulot Charentais is now ready to drink. Salut!
Brands selling special Brûlot Charentais Cognacs:
1. Is it true that the alcohol content of Brulot Charentais reduces after the ‘flaming’process?
Yes, the alcohol content of the Brulot Charentais Cognac is 58% alcohol by volume. Mixed with the coffee, this reduces to about 2-3 % alcohol by volume if the flames are allowed to die down naturally. We are currently running some tests under laboratory conditions to establish the exact alcohol content after the process.
2. Do you have to use cold coffee to make Brulot Charentais?
Yes, the coffee (and the Cognac) should be at room temperature. It is an original way to heat up the coffee and the taste is delicious; if the coffee is hot to start with, the coffee will begin to boil too quickly.
3. What is the easiest way to sample Brulot Charentais myself? Do I need the special kit?
Yes, the best way is to obtain a kit, since the earthenware equipment (cups, saucers, and coaster) can withstand the high temperatures reached in combustion.
Please contact us for price and delivery of kit.
4. Is it not dangerous to prepare Brulot Charentais?
Extreme care must be exercised when preparing Brulot Charentais. We provide special earthenware cups and saucers in our kit, which can withstand high temperatures, and recommend that you place all the equipment on a tray or large plate to avoid spillage or damage.
5. Do you need Brulot Charentais Cognac to make the Brulot?
It is better to use the stronger alcohol Cognacs like the Bouju Royal 60%. If not, there is no guarantee that the liquid will combust properly and the coffee may not reach the right temperature for consumption. The Cognac we use is also more flavoursome, as its strength and character is similar to that coming direct from the cask.