Rüdesheimer kaffee: A taste of the Rhine

Rüdesheimer kaffee: A taste of the Rhine

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

The town of Rüdesheim am Rhine is a well-known winemaking spot along the Rhine River. Marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tourists to this charming town can stop at various weinstubes to taste local Rhine wines and cuisine as well as take a cable car to Niederwalddenkmal, the patriotic statue towering over the vineyards. You can also visit a couple of local castles, including Burg Ehrenfels among the vineyards and the 10th-century castle Brömserburg, known as the oldest castle in the Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site.

After a morning of exploring the town and surrounding vineyards, a Rüdesheimer coffee is in order. Not only is this locale known for its wine drinking, but it also has its own coffee concoction. Invented in 1957, this coffee cocktail mixes a bit of theatrics with the town’s signature item: wine, of course. 

This coffee’s unique ingredient is Asbach Uralt brandy, which originates in Rüdesheim from when Hugo Asbach opened his distillery there in 1892. This wine town was perfect for him, as cognac/brandy is made by distilling wine. Because France claimed the term “cognac,” Asbach changed the name of his product to “weinbrand.”

The theatrics enter the picture when warm brandy is poured over a couple of sugar cubes and then the mixture is flambeed in the mug, before freshly brewed coffee is added. Naturally, a dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate on top are the final touches. While Rüdesheimer coffee has its own specially designed mug, which you can purchase for optimal coffee enjoyment, it can also be served in an Irish coffee mug.

Rüdesheimer Kaffee

Start to finish: 10 minutes, including brewing coffee

Serves: 1

Equipment: long match, long spoon

2 cubes sugar

1 1/3 ounces Asbach Uralt Brandy

Freshly brewed coffee

Heavy cream

Pinch of cinnamon, optional

Chocolate bar for grating

Prepare the whipped cream, adding a pinch of cinnamon while whipping, if desired.

Once your coffee has finished brewing, place sugar cubes in coffee mug. Warm the brandy either in the microwave or over gentle heat on the stove, not allowing it to boil. 

When the brandy is warmed through, pour over sugar cubes. Light the mixture with a long match and let burn for 1 minute, stirring with a long spoon to dissolve the sugar.

Pour the hot coffee over brandy–sugar mixture and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Using a potato peeler, gently shave chocolate bar over whipped cream. Enjoy!

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