Rüdesheim Coffee is a unique German coffee cocktail featuring flambeed sweetened brandy topped with strong coffee, whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
Espresso, Turkish coffee, Americano, Cafe au Lait, Café Cubano, Kaffe, Irish Coffee. No matter the country, coffee plays a key role in local traditions and recipes throughout the world. And some of the recipes are pretty unique when compared to American-style coffee recipes. (Ok, maybe the Pumpkin Spice Latte is America’s answer to a unique coffee recipe.) There’s the Espresso Romano where a shot of espresso is served with a slice of lemon. There’s the Guillermo where hot espresso is poured over slices of lime and then topped with a touch of milk. There’s Vietnamese Egg Coffee where strong coffee is layered with egg yolks, sugar and condensed milk. And then there’s the Rudesheim Coffee where flambeed brandy is extinguished with hot coffee.
Rudesheim Coffee (or Rüdesheimer Kaffee) takes it’s name from the quaint German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein. Located right along the banks of the Rhine river, Rüdesheim is known for it’s winemaking, especially Reislings. It’s also located on the northern end of the Rhine Gorge, which was a highlight of our trip when Laura and I went on a Rhine river cruise this past summer. The Rhine Gorge, also referred to as the Middle Rhine, has been an important trading route for centuries. Not surprisingly, over time, castles popped up every few miles as a way of protecting and defending this trade route. Today, the Rhine Gorge is home to literally dozens of picturesque castles that dot both banks of the river. Although many of these castles are in ruins, they are nevertheless one of the most popular features of a Rhine river cruise.
After leaving Rüdesheim, Laura and I scouted out a spot on the top of our cruise ship for our afternoon trip through the Middle Rhine. For several hours, we caught glimpses of more than 40 different castles over just a 67-kilometer stretch of the river. Vineyards planted along steep riverbanks and German villages that could be straight out of children’s storybooks set the backdrop to this region. Add in the towering castles, and you can begin to understand why this region is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As I sat on the top of the ship, I couldn’t help but think what it would have been like to live back in the late middle ages when these castles were first built. If you ever get the chance to visit this portion of the Rhine river, do it!
After we sailed through the Middle Rhine, the bartender on our Viking ship hosted a demonstration on how to make Rüdesheim Coffee. I wasn’t familiar with this drink prior to the trip, but it’s a fun one! (Hint: It involves fire!)
Rüdesheim Coffee begins by heating sugar and Asbach brandy until the sugar catches fire. The brandy is then transferred into a coffee cup where strong coffee is poured on top to put out the flames. Garnish the top of the glass with fresh whipped cream and chocolate flakes, and you’ve got a cocktail that’s perfect for cold winter days!
Rüdesheim Coffee is often served in these uniquely shaped glasses, but you could totally serve these in Irish coffee mugs or even standard coffee mugs…just use whatever you have in the cabinet! We had friends over for dinner recently, and we made Rüdesheim coffee for dessert using decaf coffee. It was a fun recipe to make for a crowd! As we hunker down and enjoy these last few days before New Year’s, whip up a Rüdesheim Coffee and curl up on the couch. Cheers!
This post was inspired by our Viking River Cruise down the Rhine River. Click below for other posts inspired by this trip!
Days 1+2: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Ontbijtkoek)
Day 4: Middle Rhine, Germany (Rüdesheim Coffee)
Day 5: Heidelberg, Germany (Flammkuchen)
Day 6: Strasbourg, France (Pain d’Epices)
Day 7: Black Forest, Germany (Black Forest Cake)