What’s In A Spanish Coffee?

If you ask what’s in a Spanish coffee, you’ll find out that it combines alcohol, coffee, and fire for a drink that has an impressive taste. Read to learn more.

Spanish coffee latte in tall glasses - What's In A Spanish Coffee
Spanish coffee is perfect for a cold, snowy evening

Coffee, alcohol, and fire…what could be more amazing than a drink that combines all three? If you are looking for a drink to dazzle your friends, our Spanish coffee recipe is a wonderful drink for a cold, snowy evening.

What’s in a Spanish coffee? Read on to find out. 

What’s In A Spanish Coffee?

A highly dramatic cup of coffee that is perfect as an accompaniment for a rich luscious dessert or just as a late-night celebration, a flaming Spanish coffee is exactly what you would expect from passionate people like those from Spain. Spanish coffee includes strongly brewed coffee, of course, but it also includes a liqueur such as Kahlua, Amaretto, or Cointreau as well as a few ounces of rum.

Spanish coffee has spicy flavorings like cinnamon and nutmeg, and it is sweetened with brown sugar. To make this drink as beautiful as it is delicious, you can garnish it with whipped cream, nutmeg, chocolate syrup, or chocolate shavings. 

With the richness of all of these ingredients, you can see that this recipe for a Spanish coffee cocktail is perfect for late nights in front of a fire in the dead of winter. 

Ingredients You Will Need to Make Your Own Spanish Coffee

chocolates and cinnamon
Cinnamon and Chocolates are ingredients found on your Spanish coffee

If you are considering making your own version of this flaming dinner drink, you will need the following ingredients for each drink.

  • 1 or 2 ounces of Bacardi rum (151-proof rum is best)
  • 1 or 2 ounces of a coffee-friendly liqueur. This could be Tia Maria, Kahlua, or Amaretto
  • 4 ounces coffee or espresso (allow it to cool to lukewarm)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or a juicy lemon wedge
  • 2 tablespoons white or brown sugar; superfine sugar will stick to the rim of the glass better than traditional sugar.
  • A dusting of cinnamon
  • A dusting of nutmeg
  • Garnishes such as whipped cream, brandied or maraschino cherries, chocolate syrup, or chocolate shavings

Instructions for Making a Spanish Coffee Drink

The technique for making a flaming Spanish coffee sounds easy, but you may want to practice once or twice before you do it for someone else. Be sure that you pay attention to the safety tips below.

1. Gather the Ingredients

When you’re creating a flaming drink, you want all of your ingredients at the ready. Go ahead and measure out each component of the drinks and have them handy, so all you will need to do is pour them into the glass. Don’t forget to already have your hot coffee brewed, measured out, and waiting to be mixed into the drinks.

Let the coffee cool to lukewarm.

2. Rim the Glass

Using a heat-resistant wine glass, use the sugar and the lemon juice to create a layer of sugar on the rim of the glass. Put the lemon juice in a shallow dish and the sugar in a different shallow dish. Dip the rim of the glass in the lemon juice and then dip it in the sugar.

Alternately, you can rub a lemon wedge on the rim of the glass and then dip it into the sugar. The sugar should stick to the rim of the glass, creating a layer of sweetness on the rim.

3. Add the Rum

a glass of rum in a wooden table
Add rum into your Spanish coffee

Measure the rum into the bottom of the wine glass.

4. Create the Flame

Hold the glass by the stem at about a 45-degree angle and, using very long matches or a long lighter, light the rum on fire. Set the glass on a flat surface and blow out your match. Pick up the wine glass by the stem, and gently swirl the flaming rum around the interior of the glass to caramelize the sugar on the rim of the glass.

When the sugar is mostly caramelized, sprinkle the spices over the drink. 

5. Add the Rest of the Ingredients

Pour the coffee liqueur over the top of the cocktail. The liquid may be boiling at first, but it will cool as you add other liquids. Add the coffee and garnish with the optional garnishes. After the fire is out, the drink is ready to be served.

6. Enjoy!

Serve the drink, but be careful, since the drink will still be quite hot.

Above All–SAFETY!

If you have never created a flaming drink, remember to be super careful as you make it.  You should keep the kids and your pets out of the way and don’t try this if you have already been imbibing, and you do not have a clear head.

Also, be sure that you are wearing non-flammable clothing that fits well. Clothes that are billowy or have long flowing sleeves could accidentally ignite, and you could get seriously injured.

Also, tie back long hair just to be on the safe side. Keep the flaming glass far from your face and hands. Wear shoes and an apron and keep open bottles of alcohol well away from where you are trying to light the flaming beverage.

Additionally, you probably should have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case the worst happens. Be sure that the glassware that you are using is heat-resistant so that it doesn’t crack or break when you light the drink on fire.

Final Word On What’s In A Spanish Coffee

Spanish coffee includes a strong coffee or espresso, rum, a coffee-flavored liqueur, and some wintertime spices. You can garnish this impressive beverage with nutmeg, cinnamon, whipped cream, or cherries. You don’t have to be intimidated by making a flaming after-dinner drink with our recipe for Spanish coffee.

FAQs About What’s In A Spanish Coffee?

What is Spanish coffee traditionally served in?

To make a flaming Spanish coffee, you will need a heat-resistant, long-stemmed wine glass that holds at least 10 ounces of liquid. Red wine or Irish coffee glass that is tempered is your best bet.

What is the espresso in a Spanish coffee called?

In Spain, the name for espresso is Café Solo. However, the type of Spanish coffee described above is actually an American adaptation originating in a restaurant in Oregon. 

How long does it take to make a flaming Spanish coffee drink?

The making of the drink itself only takes a few moments, but gathering and measuring the ingredients takes several minutes total time. To save prep time when you serve this drink, have the ingredients pre-measured on a tray. Also, rimming the glasses ahead of time can also save prep time.


  • April F.

    April Freeman is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and children on their Middle Tennessee farm where they raise vegetables, fruit, chickens, and cattle. April enjoys writing about food and is always whipping up something tasty in her kitchen. She also is an avid reader of books of all kinds. Find April on WriterAccess.