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Blue Blazer Technique & Equipment


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In the video dale degroff looks like he actually splashes some of this flaming mixture on his hands and just shrugs it off. Has anyone tried this? Does the liquid not get as hot as it looks? I think id freak out if it splashed on me. Any tips when making this drink?

Edited by Graphix (log)
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Um, no the liquid is actually hotter than it looks.

And from personal experience, the real danger is the hot containers which have contained the ridiculously hot flaming liquid.

But think of it this way...

You can walk across a field of burning coals without getting burned.

And you can extinguish a flame with your fingers.

But if you screw up the timing of either, you are going to be in a (relative) world of pain.

Likewise, if you spill that mug of burning whiskey on your arm or set your clothes on fire.

It's going to mean a trip to the hospital.

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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As someone who, for various reasons, has poured burning alcohol on myself more than once, I can testify that it is a cool-ish flame that is consuming not your flesh but the fuel itself, at least in the immidiate sense. If you have confidence in this fact and have practiced enough that the amount of fuel is minimal then you have little to fear in the way of bodily harm. On the other hand, the heat, while cool by open flame standards, is more than enough to cause damage to your tissues, and one should not have a cavalier attitude concerning it's presence. A dash of it here and there on your skin will render it hairless, but should not cause permanent injury. Splash the flaming whisky around willy-nilly, and you will, as eje indicated, wind up in the emergency room (or worse).

As JT himself advises, practice with water.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I didn't know these video's existed, it was a really cool event, and all of the blue blazers tasted really good.

I'm a little to frightened to make one myself, but probably practice practice practice is the best way to avoid burning yourself.

Also don't try this method of making a blue blazer

I think that that was Johnny Iuzzini on the left, someone at the party said that his arm didn't feel so great afterward.

Edited by mjc (log)

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Had a boss who would make everyone do a "Statue of Liberty" at any party we had, where you dip your finger in some liquor (usually sambuca) light it, put it in the air (ala statue of liberty) take a shot then blow it out.

You don't feel it (unless you're a female with fake nails....don't ask)

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As someone who, for various reasons, has poured burning alcohol on myself more than once, I can testify that it is a cool-ish flame that is consuming not your flesh but the fuel itself, at least in the immediate sense.

[...]

Just a note, a couple people have mentioned to me this idea that alcohol burns with a "cool" flame.

From any research I can do, the temperature of an alcohol flame is approximately the same as that of natural gas or any other hydrocarbon. I mean think about it, ethanol is used as a gas additive!

It does, however have a very low evaporation temp.

Not being a super scientific guy, I think this means basically that the liquid itself does not need to be super hot to evaporate. It is the gas which is quickly evaporating and burning significantly above the surface of the liquid.

But the flame itself is as hot as any other flame.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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My understanding of the science is also rudimentary, but I think that the high evaporation rate means that while the flame itself is not technically cool, it is further away from your skin than, say, oil, and thus you don't feel the heat as fast. I don't know the temperatures and all that, but I've never been injured by slapping out an alcohol flame with my hand. Of course if someone reads then and tries it and gets hurt, it's not my fault.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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i think a little practice with water is whats called for :-)

Practicing with water is of course the prudent first step, but once things are actually on fire it's a different game, especially if you're using metal containers. My advice would be that before you make the real thing but after practice with water, is to experiment with rubbing alcohol, which is easier to light and way cheaper. Just make sure you don't drink it.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I forget if I posted about this, but when I made Blue Blazers the first time, I had a hard time getting the whiskey to light without heating it a bit on the stove.

At the time, Mr. Wondrich mentioned that by adding the hot water to the whiskey (preferably cask strength), it would raise the temperature enough to "volatilize" some of the alcohol, making it easier to light.

I did find this to be the case. But then, Mr. Wondrich is seldom wrong.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Just wanted to report in that scotch whisky is not the only spirit than one can make blue blazers with; As of this evening I can vouch for the palatability of one made with Barack Palinka. Yum.

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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  • 6 months later...

Fairly large and metal. Avoid pewter.

You want to make sure that the handles are insulated from the cup, or made out of a non-thermal material such as wood. Otherwise, those handles get really hot really fast. This is the hard part. If you search eBay for "tankard" there are plenty of suitable metal vessels you could use, but they all have an integrated metal handle.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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When I make these at work I use extra frothing mugs from the espresso machine, they have the right shape and insulated rubber handles. Works great, I would imagine you could buy them on ebay or at a kitchen supply store (or a coffee shop, I guess). Downside is I think they are probably at least $15 apiece, used ones I guess are less.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I read about these nice double walled stainless mugs on the DrinkBoy MSN forums last year. They seem to work well and I had no problems ordering from the company.

Brilliant Double-Walled Large Beer Mug (Link to product on the StainlessLux.com website.)

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Indeed, these are the mugs that you want. I have used these a great many times in making my Blazers, and they have always performed wonderfully. The double-walled sides insulate nicely, the handles are large and easy to, um, handle, and the outwardly beveled rim pours easily.

I have used DeGroff's mugs (which are amazing), and I feel that these work every bit as well. And are 600 dollars less each.

It's just cold booze in a glass. Drink it, dammit.
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But think of it this way...

You can walk across a field of burning coals without getting burned.

And you can extinguish a flame with your fingers.

What makes these work is the Leidenfrost effect. Water on the skin turns to vapor, which for the moment at least, insulates the skin from the heat of the flame or burning coals, and it may also be at work I suppose when you've got an alcohol flame on your arm. This is also the reason that drops of water dance across a hot skillet without evaporating immediately.

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Just ordered two: $48 including shipping. Oh well: birthday gift.

Do you need the asbestos mitts for these bad boys, or do the handles stay cool?

The handles actually stay cool.

Jerry Thomas night at Vessel

Blue Blazer Video 1

Blue Blazer Video 2

The flared lip on the edge of the mug really helps with pouring too.

Rocky

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Be aware of one's surroundings when executing the Blue Blazer. Two nights ago on my birthday, I was finishing up my shift behind the stick with a very cocktail enthusiastic crowd. Being that there are only 20 or so cocktail enthusiasts in all of Tucson and most of them were sitting at my bar that evening, I decided to bring out the Blue Blazer to finish the evening. The ingredients were prepared, the lights dimmed, and the match lit. Everything went beautifully, including funny comments such as "Now I'm officially turned on!" Just as I was finishing up, I managed to pour a bit of the Blazer into a small rubbish bin full of paper, thus lighting it on fire. This resulted in me putting both feet into the bin while pulling up my apron and doing a dance ala Lucile Ball. I had been conscientious of my surroundings, performing the drink over the glass sink full of water, though not careful enough, failing to notice the trash directly below me. Needless to say this could have gone horribly wrong resulting in somebody getting hurt. Luckily the night ended in laughs and a very astonished/happy guest, he had already told me that Laphroaig cask strength was his favorite, turning it into a flaming toddy just happened to bring the scotch to a whole new level for him (hope he doesn't burn his house down in trying this at home!)

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  • 6 months later...

Getting ready for BBs for three guests at Christmas and wondering about heating the booze. In his detailed treatise on esquire.com, Dr. Wondrich doesn't suggest it; the Macallan cask strength I just got (on his recommendation) is 117 proof, which seems plenty volatile to me. Thoughts?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Getting ready for BBs for three guests at Christmas and wondering about heating the booze. In his detailed treatise on esquire.com, Dr. Wondrich doesn't suggest it; the Macallan cask strength I just got (on his recommendation) is 117 proof, which seems plenty volatile to me. Thoughts?

I don't know what the magic number is, but green chartreuse (110 proof) usually needs a bit of warming to light. I don't think it could hurt.

ETA: Having just read the Esquire article, I think adding the boiling water should suffice...you shouldn't need to heat the booze individually, prior to that step.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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