I can’t clearly recall when the idea struck my husband and I, but at some point we just went, “We should make flaming drinks for our friends.” And thus began our quest for fire.
It only takes about two seconds with Google to see that most flaming drink recipes have one thing in common, you float a little Bacardi 151 on top. To us this seemed to imply that really, you could light any beverage on fire, as long as you float some 151 rum on top. So then, why flame a zombie or mai tai when we could flame rum drinks we truly love, like mojitos and rum and cokes?
Obviously this was going to require field testing. We went out and bought a bottle of Bacardi 151 (Which by the way, has this awesome warning label telling you that no matter what, do not use it for flaming dishes or drinks. Seriously.) and a fire extinguisher that could accommodate liquid based fires. Then we gathered up a few rum drinking buddies to see what would happen.
For those of you unfamiliar with the mojito, you’ve been missing out. It’s a fairly simple mix. Cut up some lime, toss it in the bottom of a glass with some sugar and mint leaves. Then muddle it, which means pound and mush up the ingredients. You can buy a muddler (a mortarless pestle) for the task, we did on clearance at Pottery Barn, or you can use a wooden spoon handle, which is what we used in the past, or you could try the beater of a hand mixer, which is what the folks at Hungry Girl suggest. After you’ve muddled, add one part light, or white, rum and three parts seltzer and ice. Refreshing!
We ended up making two mojitos, a rum and coke, and a vanilla float (root beer with a shot of vanilla vodka). My husband floated some 151 on top and attempted to make flame.
Only one actually lit. We put out the flames on that one. Obviously the next step was to drink. The person whose mojito actually ignited suggested letting it burn out next time because the 151 tasted pretty strong. Obviously this is what I, the other mojito drinker, and the rum and coke guy thought as well. Of course we still drank them, can’t let rum go to waste after all. My husband’s vanilla float went straight into the sink after one sip. I guess none of us were too surprised that root beer, vanilla vodka, and 151 didn’t mix well.
Although not a roaring success, we had proof of concept. You could flame a mojito. We were now treading paths that had never been navigated before.
The next time we gathered we had new thoughts on how to reliably achieve flame. It appeared that the ice broke up the even layer of 151, so this time we made the drinks without ice. And it worked!
Remembering how we needed to let it burn longer we decided to let that one burn out. Um, not the best plan.
Yep, that would be a busted pint glass.
After that we opted to extinguish the flames after a minute or so. Unfortunately the drinks still tasted as if laced with rocket fuel. Maybe there was a reason that you mostly see shots and mixed drinks that are already a heady mix of boozes lit on fire. Perhaps the reason we had gone where no one had seemed to tread before was because, maybe, just maybe, everyone else was a little smarter.
So what did we learn? A mojito is a perfect, refreshing rum drink that needs no embellishment. That Bacardi 151 tastes pretty crappy. And that spending time drinking nasty, half flamed, rum drinks with friends is a wonderful way to kill a Saturday night.