Rüdesheim am Rhein is one of many picturesque villages along the Rhine River in the German state of Hesse. The nearby Rheingau wine region is noted for its vineyards and wineries producing predominantly Riesling wine. Pinot Noirs are also produced in the region.
On an average day, Rüdesheim is a lovely village for strolling, particularly along the wide Drosselgasse lined with shops. Smaller streets branch off the main shopping area, and Steingasse features a number of restaurants, including Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss, part of the Breuer family for several generations.
In addition to the Schloss Hotel & Restaurant, the Breuer family also owns 34 hectares of vineyards, predominantly planted with Rieslings. Theresa Breuer runs the vineyard and winery while her sister Maresa Breuer Nieten runs the family’s hotel and restaurant. In 2007 Rüdesheimer Schloss became a World Heritage Host.
In 1957 German television chef Hans Karl Adams invented Rüdesheimer Kaffee, a luscious alcoholic coffee drink which, while not as famous as Irish Coffee, is nonetheless delicious. Unlike Irish Coffee, Rüdesheimer Kaffee has its own specific porcelain cups which are available for purchase in several shops along the Drosselgasse. The particular use of Asbach Uralt brandy gives the drink a Rüdesheim twist. And igniting the brandy sets this coffee apart from other specialty coffee cocktails
Rüdesheimer Kaffee is prepared by the cup from a simple recipe.
Place three sugar cubes into a mug
Add the local Asbach brandy
Light a match to warm the mixture
Muddle the sugar cubes into the brandy
Add strong coffee
Top with thickly whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla sugar
Scatter chocolate flakes on top
Asbach Uralt Brandy
Asbach Uralt brandy is a blend of 25 wines and is one of Germany’s most famous brandies. Its story begins after Hugo Ansbach learned the distillery trade in France. Back in Germany, Hugo Ansbach founded Asbach & Co. in Rüdesheim in 1892.
Initially, Ansbach’s company distilled cognac, but after Germany’s defeat in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles stipulated that the word cognac could only be used in reference to brandies produced in France. Ansbach shrugged and rebranded his distilled product as Weinbrand, the German word for brandy. The new name became official in 1923.
In 1937, the company marketing slogan was “The spirit of wine is Asbach.”
If you want to try the recipe at home, you will have the closest beverage to the one mixed in Rüdesheim. Sugar cubes, strong coffee, and thick whipped cream are readily available. You can even purchase the official Rüdesheim Kaffee Cups. Alas, the official Asbach Uralt brandy is not available in the U. S., but any quality brandy will result in a quality drink.
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Hans Karl Adams, 1960.
Asbach Uralt by Algont at Dutch Wikipedia.
All Other Photos by Author.
karenanne. “Rüdesheim Coffee Recipe.” German Girl in America. Oct. 19, 2019.
Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.