Other than color (blood red, orange, gruesome green), Halloween cocktails are often chosen by garnish and presentation – we have to dress up our drinks like we do ourselves for this holiday. This year I’m choosing to cloak my cocktails in flames: Eerie blue flames that spark with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon, or turn orange with a bit of salt. I was not aware that I could channel Beavis & Butthead, but there they were, snickering “fire, fire, fire, heheh.”
My first flaming cocktail attempt was the The Goblet of Fire*, created for the Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows movie and appropriate for Halloween. I followed the instructions very carefully and found it quite simple, particularly since I learned how to layer drink ingredients (super duper easy) for last year’s Black + Orange drink.
2 oz Ty Ku Liqueur 1 oz Kahlua liqueur Barspoon of cream 1 oz Bacardi 151 rum grated cinnamon Directions:
- Shake Ty Ku and Kahlua in a shaker filled with ice.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Float cream on top using a bar spoon.
- Float Bacardi 151 on top of cream.
- Light the rum with a match.
- As flame burns, sprinkle some cinnamon onto the flame.
- Clap hands over flame or blow to put it out.
- Give a stir and serve.
So much fun to make! But not a favorite taste for me since I’m not keen on coffee (unlike everyone else in the Seattle area). So I decided to try another recipe, using green chartreuse as the accelerant. This one was more to my taste.
3/4 oz white rum 3/4 oz spiced rum 1/2 oz orgeat 1/3 oz (= 1T) fresh lemon juice 1/3 oz (= 1T) fresh lime juice 1/3 oz (= 1T) fresh orange juice 2 dashes of Angostura bitters crushed ice 1 hollowed-out lime half, for garnish 1/2 ounce green chartreuse
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rums, orgeat, citrus juices and bitters; shake well. Pour into a chilled double rocks glass. Add crushed ice and garnish with the lime cup (the site photo shows the lime cup inside out). Pour the chartreuse into the cup and ignite the chartreuse. Blow out the flame, then tip the chartreuse into the drink.
Really, though, any drink recipe can be made into the flaming variety, provided the accelerant liquor is compatible with the rest of the ingredients and the drink is served up (without ice). Floating a bit of Barcardi 151 on the top of a rum drink will little impact the taste (hmmm, this could be the perfect presentation for my Bloody Sunday drink!). I did a lot of experimenting and here is what I learned:
- Depending on the mouth opening of the glass, as little as a quarter ounce of high-proof liquor floated on top can produce nice flames; if the glass mouth is wide, you’ll need more for dispersal
- I didn’t have any luck producing visible flames with less than 110 proof. Liquor can produce invisible flames and perhaps that was the case with the 100-proof vodka, but what’s the spectacle in that?
- While ice in a drink does not prevent floating a liquor on top, but it does prevent flaming (I had to see if fire could burn around the ice cubes; wouldn’t that be cool?)
- Better to keep the flames going just long enough to serve the drink, ooh and ahh quickly, maybe spark it with some cinnamon or nutmeg, and then blow it out. Otherwise the glassware gets too hot to drink.
- Because I was sober and safe, my eyebrows and house remain intact. DrinkNation serves up some safety tips for working with flaming drinks.
Drinks that appear to arise from the inferno – that’s Halloween!
* The Goblet of Fire is courtesy of Cocktails.About.com and Cradle of Life is from FoodandWine.com and featured in their Food & Wine Cocktails 2011 book.
As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.