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October 2, 2017



This time last year I was cruising down the Rhine with the fabulous Amawaterways.  The clouds hung low on the terraced vineyards and ancient church steeples as we sailed smoothly passed beautiful ancient castles and quaint little towns. Perched on a lounger on the top deck I was just about to freeze to death when, from out of nowhere, a smartly clad young man appeared with a tray of steaming hot Rudesheim coffee.  Oh the joy! This German specialty coffee has a delightful alcoholic kick to it that no home brew or Starbucks blend will ever give you.


If you've ever had Irish Coffee - then think bigger and better my friend. Steaming hot black coffee (regular or decaf) mixed with three cubes of sugar (this ain't for the faint of heart) and Armagnac or Cognac, or if you really want to stick with the tradition, use Asbach Brandy. Serve with thickly whipped cream, vanilla sugar and a few shaving of dark chocolate.  Heaven.


This seriously caffeinated drink has deep local roots, according to my Amawaterways hosts. The traditional Asbach Brandy that is most often used in the coffee was created in Rüdesheim as far back as 1892 by a merchant and distiller named Hugo Asbach.  


To make sure you enjoy this beverage as authentically as possible, AmaWaterways takes its guests to the Rüdesheimer Schloss, a lively spot where you can enjoy both the iconic drink and the energetic atmosphere. There's no way you can be a sloth after one of these drinks!


Here’s the recipe, shared by Amawaterways. When you're up all night, let me know what you think of it.



1 ⅓ oz. Asbach Uralt (a dry, aged brandy such as Cognac, Armagnac, Brandy de Jerez, or any other quality German or California grape brandy will do)
3 sugar cubes
Brewed coffee
Decoration: whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles



Put three sugar cubes in a coffee cup.


Add 1 ⅓ ounces (a double shot in the U.S. may be 2 fluid ounces or more) well-heated Asbach Uralt and light with a long match. No man, for your coffee!


Stir with a long-stemmed spoon so that the sugar dissolves well and allow it to burn for about 1 minute.


Top off to just about an inch below the edge of the cup with hot coffee. Put a dollop of whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla sugar, on top and add dark chocolate sprinkles.


Tip: Heat the brandy in a microwave-safe container for 1 minute at 600 watts or over hot water.




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