Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday 5 o’Clock Cocktail - Combustible Edison

If you like bitter drinks, then you’ll really like today’s drink. The drink was developed by a lounge band of the same name back in the early 90’s. I can’t vouch for group’s music, but the drink is pretty good.

The Combustible Edison combines extreme bitterness with – you guessed it – fire. And while bitterness and fire might seem like an unbeatable combination, there is one downside.
This drink calls for an ingredient that isn’t exactly common: Campari Bitters.

In fact, at the liquor stores around my house, Campari is about as easy to find as a hot girl playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Given the fact that Campari is so uncommon, you may have to substitute Angustura bitters. The drink isn’t bad that way. The difference is that Angustura is much more powerful, and has more of a "clove" taste, whereas the Campari is more of a fruit taste (which is why Campari goes better with the Brandy).

Here are the ingredients:
2 oz Brandy
1/2 to 1 oz Campari Bitters (use 1/4 oz if you are substituting Angustura)
1 oz Lemon Juice

Ok, now let's make the drink.

Room temperature Brandy doesn't usually catch on fire. So, take the 2 oz of Brandy and pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Depending on your microwave, this will bring it to just below the boiling point – which is perfect.

While that's warming up in the microwave, shake the lemon juice and the bitters in a shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Now, take the shot of brandy out of the microwave and light it on fire just as you pour it into your cocktail glass. Depending on how you pour it, the fire will probably go out almost immediately when you pour it in the glass. But if you are careful about it, you can "float" the brandy on top and it will burn with a really nice blue flame (you may have to turn the lights out if you can't see it).

The safest way to do this is to float the brandy on top of the drink first, wait a few seconds for the warm brandy to float up to the top of the drink; THEN light it on fire.

However, I have to be honest here and tell you that I prefer not to light mine on fire. There are essentially three problems with the fire thing:
  • Fire can burn you and your house
  • The fire warms up the drink (I usually prefer my cocktails cold)
  • The fire burns off some of the alcohol
If you don't feel comfortable lighting your drinks on fire, or you are religiously opposed to burning the alcohol out of your drink, then you can just skip the fire part. In that case it’s a Flame-retarded Edison.

Either way, pucker up buttercup.

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