How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations

We'll guide you through the process here, from preparing the flaming Spanish coffee to making easier variations of this recipe without flame.
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
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Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 23, 2023
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Most people love the combined taste of coffee and liqueur in a glass. But what happens when fire is introduced? It becomes a spicy drink people can’t do without at special events such as cocktail parties and hangouts.

If you are a fan of coffee, the Spanish coffee is a stunning delight that comes with a twist and makes for a good drink at night, especially during cold days. If this has already set your taste bud on fire once, you must be curious to know how to whip your Spanish coffee recipe in the comfort of your home without visiting a bar.

Not to worry, we will walk you through the process so you can recreate that “bar-like” atmosphere when you hang out with your friends in your living room. Most of the ingredients you will need are within reach and easy to incorporate into your wine glass as well. So let’s get started.

What Is Spanish Coffee?

How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations

A few misconceptions surround Spanish coffee. There are a lot of arguments surrounding its original place of origin. Most people believe it’s an American drink. At the same time, experts suggest that what is termed the “Spanish coffee” is the American variation of the Carajillo, which happens to be a Spanish coffee cocktail.

Hence, the Spanish coffee recipe is a spin-off of the Carajillo (the traditional Spanish coffee). The most dominant ingredient present in this drink includes rum, liqueur, coffee bean, and any creamy toppings. There are different variations served in most bars and serve as a delicious treat in cocktail parties and outdoor events.

Because it’s a coffee doesn’t mean it should be enjoyed at the office alone. Ironically, Spanish coffee is served as a delicious treat in most cocktail parties and outdoor events. This is because it makes room for creativity, and you can throw in delicious ingredients such as chocolate syrup, cherry, and whipped cream to create a custom taste.

Flaming Spanish Coffee Recipe

How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations

The flaming Spanish coffee recipe has a lot in common with the traditional Spanish coffee recipe, but one key difference that sets them apart is “fire.”

Yes, fire! You light the rum in the flaming version on fire before you pour your coffee over it. In the original Spanish coffee drink, this extra step is missing. The introduction of fire helps caramelize the sugar and lemon applied to the glass rim to give it a different taste.

However, the flaming Spanish coffee is more difficult to make; there’s a risk of burn as you caramelize the sugar since you have to stir the inflamed rum by holding on to the glass handle. This is why you need to keep your hands away from the flame.

If the idea of fire in a glass excites you, then you might want to follow our step-by-step approach to creating the flaming Spanish coffee for the winter months.

How to Make

Before we show you how to make the flaming Spanish coffee, we will have to show you a few ingredients you need to have before getting started. This will help you whip as many cups as possible at home. This recipe focuses on just one serving, but you can tweak the quantity to suit your need.


  • 100 ml (3.4 oz.) of coffee espresso
  • 1 – 2 ounce coffee-compatible liqueur of your choice. You can use Kahlua or Tia Maria.
  • 30 ml (1 oz.) of 151-proof rum
  • 1- 2 oz. of whipped cream
  • Half slice of lemon
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Small-sized shallow bowl
  • Wine glass for serving
  • Small pinch of cinnamon and turmeric ( optional)
  • Kitchen torch

Prepare Your Flaming Spanish Coffee

  1. Cut a tiny slice of your lemon and rub it on the rim of your wine glass.
  2. How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple VariationsPour one tablespoon of sugar on your shallow pan, turn your glass over it, and continue to move until the rim is covered with sugar.
  3. Measure 1 oz of 15-proof rum and pour it into the wine glass.
  4. Bring your kitchen torch over the rum in the cup and light it up. Be careful when carrying out this step as it might cause burn due to the flammable nature of the rum.
  5. If done properly, you will see a small fire at the top of the rum. Gently lift your glass and shake it slowly, so the run caramelizes the sugar as you stir.How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations
  6. Add one pinch of cinnamon and turmeric while the flame is still on and keep stirring for the next 5 minutes
  7. Measure 0.5 oz. of liqueur and pour into the inflamed rum
  8. Introduce your coffee into the glass. Be careful when doing this, as the flame is bound to rise higher when you pour the coffee in. Keep your hands away when you do this.
  9. Once you’re done emptying the coffee into the glass, the fire is going to extinguish. However, the body of the glass will still be hot, so do not attempt to touch
  10. Measure 1 oz of whipped cream and stir in a small cup until it becomes foamy. This will take approximately 4–5 minutes to achieve.
  11. Slowly pour the cream over the top of the mixture in the glass
  12. There you have it; your flaming coffee is ready to be served.

Easier-to-Make Spanish Coffee Variations

Well, after going through our step-by-step instructions on how to make Spanish coffee, you might think, “this is too difficult”. We get it! It isn’t the easiest recipe to execute if you want to treat your guests to a delicious cup of coffee.

Luckily, other easier Spanish coffee drink recipes don’t require fire, and they taste just as good. Here they are.

Cafe Bombon

How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations

The Cafe Bombon is the Valencian variation of Spanish coffee. It’s the easiest to prepare, and you will only need 2 Oz of espresso combined with condensed milk. Once you have these two at home, follow these steps to whip out the most straightforward coffee you will ever taste.

  1. Pour the condemned milk into a wine cup first
  2. Follow up with your espresso

In place of the condensed milk, some people use creamy liqueurs instead. Baileys is a good option.

The Original Carajillo

How to Make Spanish Coffee: The Classic Recipe and a Couple Variations

We already told you that Spanish coffee is a spin-off of the Carajillo. Fortunately, the recipe of the Carajillo has traveled beyond the shores of Spain and you don’t have to travel there to enjoy this drink. You can whip a Carajillo in your home using these ingredients.

Step 1: Measure 2 oz of the licor 43 and pour into a glass

Step 2: Pour your espresso over the back of a spoon when adding this

Step 3: You can finish it off with a topping of your choice. However, most people prefer whipped cream

Tips and Tricks

  • To make flaming Spanish coffee, you will need to caramelize the rim of your glass with lemon and sugar. This will prevent the glass from cracking when you light the rum up. If you pour the coffee directly, the glass will break without caramelizing since the rim has been exposed to the flame from the rum.
  • Also, you want to pick a durable glass for this one. Thick glasses work best and are less likely to crack.

In the steps mentioned above, we used the 151-proof rum for our recipe. This is because these types of rum are easier to inflame to room temperature, unlike aged rum, which has to be warmed first before they can be used for this purpose. Hence, save your time by going for rum labeled “151-proof.”

  • It’s easier to get presold whipped milk for the flaming Spanish recipe, but nothing beats the taste and thickness of homemade whipped milk Trusted Source Homemade Whipped Cream | Sally's Baking Addiction Homemade whipped cream is made with just 3 simple ingredients and comes together in only a few minutes. It's so creamy, so light, and so so so delicious! . For this, you only need liquid milk and sugar.
  • You need to know when to garnish the flaming coffee. The general rule of thumb is to add your garnishing after the fire goes out and not before. This means you must follow a definite order. Hence, your milk can’t go in before your coffee or liqueur. You shouldn’t be left with a flame at the top like the Hubers famous Spanish coffee
  • You can also make your espresso at home with dark roasted coffee beans if you have a coffee maker. This guarantees the quality of coffee you’re using.

Final Thoughts

You will have to try out the flaming Spanish coffee in your home multiple times before you nail the right taste. This involves a lot of risks, and you have to be careful when you introduce fire. Ensure there are no kids close by when doing this, as they might want to try it out when you’re away. After all, everyone loves the sight of fire in a glass.

Lastly, your choice of glass and liqueur will determine how well the coffee comes out. Glasses with heavy construction should be used for this. Even with a caramelized rim, some thin glasses might still crack. Now that you know how to make the flaming Spanish coffee go try it out.


Homemade Whipped Cream | Sally's Baking Addiction
Homemade whipped cream is made with just 3 simple ingredients and comes together in only a few minutes. It's so creamy, so light, and so so so delicious!

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