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Flaming Shots & Drinks

Home > Bartending Guide > Flaming Shots & Drinks

There are many recipes that call for a shot or a drink to be lit on fire. This generally leads to a neat effect, or a certain taste, and it's pretty cool when it's done right. However, there are many things to keep in mind when dealing with flaming alcohol. If you are going to be making a recipe that calls for fire, keep the following things in mind.

  • Never ever ever consume a drink while it is still on fire. Always extinguish it first! You might say, "What's the point in that?", and the answer is "So you aren't horribly disfigured for life". There is nothing macho about drinking something that is on fire, unless you consider extensive care in the burn ward macho. Blow it out.
  • Close any open bottles of alcohol before lighting, and move them away from the presentation area.
  • Do not serve flaming drinks to guests that are inebriated.
  • If you can't see the flame, turn out the lights. Don't put your face up next to the drink, or stick your finger in it. Alcohol burns with a bluer flame that is not always visible in normal light.
  • Do not let the drink burn too long. The glass may heat and crack, or the taste of the drink may be ruined.
  • Do not add alcohol to a burning drink. You run the risk of having a flaming bottle, or spraying fire around.
  • Do not leave a burning drink unattended. Again, the glass could crack, spilling flaming alcohol onto a flammable surface.
  • Use heavy glassware. Fine crystal or thin glass will crack more easily, or if left too long, may be etched.
  • Short, round glasses, such as a snifter, are better suited for flaming drinks than tall thin ones. The drink will have a larger flammable surface area, and you can cup the glass for easier ignition.
All that being said, flaming drinks are very snazzy and have great presentation value! It's pretty much all common sense, so have fun with them, and just use that extra little bit of grey matter to make sure no one dies in a flaming inferno. Because nobody's really a fan of that.
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