Wednesday, 21 March 2012

'Trade Secrets from the Cocktail Industry' #2 (in a series): Fire

Why do we vow to never become like our parents?

Most of us have been pretty lucky - no terrible crimes perpetuated against us by our own folks - yet we shudder at some of the things they said (and sometimes still do say) to us: 'Stop acting like the world owes you a living' is a personal favourite, as is: 'Stop showing off' and the timeless classic: 'Stop getting carried away' (all uncannily timed to be said  in public and within earshot of whichever girl I most fancied at the time - funny that).

However, on occasion, the old 'uns did get it bang on. 'Don't play with matches' (often ignored, always with near-disastrous consequences) still holds true today. Except for when it comes to making drinks.

I think it was because I watched Coyote Ugly a few too many times that I decided to open a cocktail bar. You remember the scene - the one where one of the 'Bar Stunnas' pours a bottle of whiskey onto the bar top and lights it, then dances provocatively in the flames until the director says cut, and the bloke in the flame retardant suit rushes over with an extinguisher (probably).

Well anyway, I remember in the early days of the bar when I took a match to a shot glass of sambuca and heard the disproportionately large wail of excitement exude from the punters mouths at such a cheap trick, then felt the ker-ching on my tip plate and I thought: 'That's it! Mum and Dad were dead wrong. I MUST play with matches!'

With sambuca, the reason for lighting it is that it releases the fragrances of the botanicals in the liquor, mellows the flavour and makes the floating coffee bean on its surface all toasty and delicious. However, I didn't stop there, I burnt f**king everything! I would have set orange juice alight if it were physically possible.

So, the moral of the story is: Fire = Tips.

Just don't tell my mum.

The Flaming Lamborghini definitely must be tried, as it has to be the most iconic  'Laaahds on the Town' drink of the 1980's, and the forerunner of the fiery drink movement - as probably enjoyed by our very own PM, David 'Cammo' Cameron and his mate, our very own jolly Mayor of London, Boris 'Bozza' Johnson - in some Chelsea wine bar in 1983. You must serve with it with my Chicken Kiev dish, for a real nostalgia-filled, 1980's themed, night of fun.

Here's some fun maths: In a 70cl standard bottle of spirits priced at about £15, there are twenty eight 25ml shots, which means that a shot of alcohol comes in at just over 50 pence each. Cocktails are about two shots per drink, plus mixer etc, so cost-wise, these drinks are, on average, £1.25 per serving (except for the Flaming Lamborghini, which is four shots - don't forget it's a 'Laaahds' drink). Bottoms up!

Flaming Sambuca


1 or 2 shots sambuca
Coffee bean

In a shot glass, float the coffee bean on the sambuca. Set the sambuca alight with a match and quickly drink in one gulp (don't wait too long, or the rim of the glass will get too hot and you will burn your mouth).


The Flaming Lamborghini


1 shot sambuca
1 shot kahlua or Tia Maria
1 shot Baileys
1 shot blue curacao

Line up a shot glass each of the Baileys and curacao. Mix the sambuca and kahlua in a martini glass and set it alight with a match. Start to drink the mixture with a straw. As the mixture comes to an end, swiftly pour in the Baileys and  curacao - all four shots must be consumed in one gulp (in order to win 'Laaahd' status).

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