Viennese coffee: Kaffee Maria Theresia


I don’t know where you are, but where I am, we are having our second “Arctic” cold spell.  This seems like a good time to follow up the Hot Toddy post with some nice coffee cocktails. Where better to start off than Vienna?  I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Vienna and I highly recommend it as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.  But even more, it is home to some of the best coffeehouses and cafes in the world.  Viennese coffee is exquisite and the cakes, strudels and pastries are a league of their own.  The Viennese know how to brew a cup of coffee, and most coffeehouses will serve you a Kaffee Maria Theresia, which is sweetened coffee with orange liquor and whipped cream.

The drink is named for THE Maria Theresia of the Hapsburg empire.  She was quite a formidable woman.  She was the only female ruler of the Habsburg empire and she was the last ruler of the House of Habsburg. The empire included Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, and parts of Italy.  She ruled the Habsburg empire for 40 years and during that time gave birth to 22 children (16 survived childhood), while also fighting 2 wars.  She was a kick-ass woman and the drink named for her honors her well.

So how do you make this coffee cocktail?  You need the following: orange liqueur, superfine sugar, coffee, whipping cream and orange zest for garnish.  Let’s talk about some of these ingredients.

For this drink you can use any type of orange liquor.  Cointreau and Triple Sec add a clean orange flavor.  I used Grand Marnier because the cognac base adds a nice note to the drink.


Superfine sugar dissolves nicely, but you can use regular cane sugar in a pinch, just stir a little longer.


Next, you will need to whip your cream ahead of time.  Organic grassfed is nice if you can get it, but more importantly, don’t use a can.  You can lightly sweeten it or not, depending on your preference.


Okay, let’s make the drink!

Kaffee Maria Theresia (slightly adapted from Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers)

First warm your cup with boiling water.  While skipping this step isn’t the end of the world, it will insure your coffee stays nice and hot.


Next, pour out the water, and pour 3 tablespoons of orange liquor in your cup, and stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar.


When the sugar is dissolved, add 1 cup of coffee.


Next, add a dollop of whipped cream.


Last but not least, zest some orange.


Garnish, and enjoy.


A little decadent, but just the thing to brighten a cold day.  And perfect for breakfast, afternoon coffee break or after dinner.



Hot Toddies

So after a ‘not as brief as I would have liked’ hiatus, I’m back! And figured early January is the perfect time to talk about hot toddies.  First, it’s cold, like really, really cold. And it is also cold and flu season, for which hot toddies are medicinal.

The traditional, classic hot toddy consists of hot water, lemon juice, honey and booze. There is debate on whether that booze should be whisky, rum or brandy. I personally favor whisky. And I’ll use any whisky, but find bourbon is my favorite.

If you google hot toddy, you will find many many variations. Some people insist you need to add a tea bag to that hot water and use tea as the backbone. Some feel strongly about adding spices, especially cinnamon or nutmeg, perhaps ginger.  You will also find a few alternate spellings, such as totty and tottie.  However, toddy seems to be the most common spelling

I have fallen in love with a variation of the hot toddy that I read about on Joy the Baker’s blog which substitutes half a fresh squeezed orange for the lemon. ( It is ethereal.

So here is the recipe for your (freezing) cold weather enjoyment.

In a mug, squeeze half of an orange.


Add a hefty dose of bourbon. (I don’t measure, but at least 2 ounces.)


Get a big spoonful of honey. (Only you know how sweet you like things, and yes, you can always add more!)


Fill the mug with not quite boiling water and stir with the spoonful of honey.


What I love about this recipe, like most of the cocktails I make, is that you personalize it. You can put in more or less whisky, honey or hot water. The half of orange, fresh-squeezed is harder to alter, but if necessary, that is what the other half is for!

Enjoy and stay warm!