Flaming Spanish Coffee

Flaming Spanish Coffee
The Spruce / S&C Design Studios
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 Serving
Yield: 1 Cocktail

There are many variations on Spanish coffee, but the most famous is as visually dramatic as it is delicious. Also known as "flaming coffee," the rum-based drink includes a generous portion of a coffee-friendly spirit and is then lit on fire. If you haven't lit an alcoholic beverage on fire before, be extremely careful when doing this. Safety first: no kids or pets in the kitchen, no flammable clothing on, no flammable bottles of alcohol near the working area, and always remember to wear an apron and shoes when handling hot pots—in this case, an open flame in a glass. Having a fire extinguisher at hand is not a bad idea.

If you can get your hand on a bottle of 151 Rum, then that should be the base for your cocktail. Sadly, Bacardi stopped producing it in 2016. With a whopping 75.5% alcohol by volume, this fragrant rum is amazing for flaming cocktails, but use Sunset Rum, Stroh 80 Rum, Clarke's Court Spiced Rum, or any high-alcohol rum instead.

If you are a seasoned mixologist and feel comfortable lighting drinks on fire, you might want to turn off the lights for your guests to have a better view of this beautiful process. You'll need heat-resistant stemmed glassware (or an Irish coffee mug), and a long match. Roll up your sleeves and (if necessary) tie your hair back!


  • For the cocktail:
  • 1 to 2 ounces rum
  • 1 to 2 ounces coffee-friendly liqueur (room temperature Kahlua, Amaretto, or Cointreau)
  • 3 ounces dark brewed coffee (lukewarm)
  • For the glass:
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (brown sugar or spiced sugar)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • Garnishes:
  • Optional Choices: Whipped cream (or heavy cream, to taste), ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, zest of lemon, lime, or orange, chocolate shavings, chocolate syrup, brandied cherries (or maraschino cherries)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Flaming Spanish Coffee
    Marko Goodwin
  2. In separate cups, measure the rum, coffee liqueur, and brewed coffee and have at hand the spices.

  3. Using the sugar and lemon juice, rim a heat-resistant wine glass. Place the lemon juice in a shallow bowl and the sugar in another. Dip the rim of the glass into the lemon juice and then, while it's still wet, dip it into the sugar.

    Rim wine glass with sugar
    Marko Goodwin
  4. Pour the rum into the wine glass.

    Proof Rum in a Sugar-Rimmed Glass
    Marko Goodwin
  5. With extreme care, tilt the glass at a ​45-degree angle. With a long match or lighter, light the rum on fire, keeping it away from your face and hair. Don't be startled if it lights on fire before the fire touches the rum—this is normal. Return the glass to its vertical position and place it on a flat surface. If you used a match to light the fire, blow the match out. With your hand flat and facing down toward the table, hold the stem of the glass firmly between your index and middle fingers. Moving your hand in a circular motion, swirl the flaming rum in the glass to caramelize the sugar. Once the sugar is mostly caramelized, sprinkle the ground nutmeg and cinnamon over the drink. The spices will flavor the drink and add exciting visual sparks to the preparation of your cocktail.

    An image of 151 rum on fire.
    Marko Goodwin
  6. Quickly and carefully pour the desired liqueur on top of the cocktail. Do not worry if the liquid is boiling at first. It will cool down as you add more ingredients. Add the coffee. Add this point the glass should be 2/3 full.

    Flaming Coffee Cocktail
    Marko Goodwin
  7. After the fire is out, your cocktail is complete. However, you can choose one or more of the optional garnishes to finish it off.

  8. It might still be hot, so enjoy with care!