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Blue Blazer

Bartender Making A Flaming Drink

If you’re a cocktail enthusiast with a flair for the dramatic, the Blue Blazer is a spectacle of mixology that harkens back to the early days of American bartending. This flaming drink is not only a warm and hearty cocktail perfect for chilly evenings but also a showstopper that can light up the room—quite literally. The Blue Blazer is an iconic classic that requires your careful attention and bravado as you juggle streams of fire between two mugs.

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The recipe for the Blue Blazer involves a unique preparation method that, while impressive, calls for caution and practice. Mixing fire and alcohol, the drink’s creation is as much a part of its allure as its rich, smoky flavor. Initially crafted by the famed bartender Jerry Thomas in the 1860s, it represents the epitome of flair bartending. As you prepare to make your own Blue Blazer, bear in mind the importance of safety and precision in each step.

Tasting Notes

When you take your first sip of the Blue Blazer, the robust warmth of cask-strength Scotch whisky carries through immediately. This isn’t your average cocktail; cask-strength means the whisky is bottled directly from the barrel, giving you a stronger, more direct flavor. Your palate will detect:

  • A powerful whisky base with notes of oak and vanilla
  • Subtle hints of sweetness from the demerara or raw sugar
  • A refreshing balance provided by the boiling water

As you continue to enjoy the drink, pay attention to the interplay between the heat and the lemon peel garnish. The zest from the lemon peel adds a bright, citrusy aroma that cuts through the intensity, rounding out each sip with a clean finish.

The most exciting part? The spectacle of the flaming drink aspect. It’s not just for show; the brief fire involved in the preparation brings out a slight smokiness that complements the inherent peatiness of the whisky.

Remember, the preparation of the Blue Blazer involves flaming Scotch whisky, which adds a slight, unique smokiness only encountered with a flaming drink. It’s important to enjoy responsibly, taking in the layers of flavor that unfold with each taste of this legendary, fiery concoction.


Making a Blue Blazer cocktail requires a combination of simple but specific ingredients. You’ll need:

  • Scotch Whisky: The cornerstone of this fiery cocktail. Opt for a cask-strength Scotch to ensure the drink has the necessary proof to light properly.
  • Sugar: A couple of teaspoons of demerara or raw sugar will add a caramel-like sweetness that complements the bold flavor of the whisky.
  • Water: To balance the drink, you’ll add about 3 ounces of boiling water. It’s also used to preheat the mugs.
  • Lemon: A lemon twist garnish adds a bright, citrusy aroma elevating the overall experience of the drink.
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For a single serving, the basic measurements are:

Cask-strength Scotch Whisky2 ounces
Demerara/Raw Sugar1 teaspoon
Boiling Water1.5 ounces
Lemon Twist (for garnish)1

Remember, preparing the Blue Blazer involves lighting the mixture, so safety first! Also, the traditional method requires two metal mugs to create the blazing effect. You’ll be pouring the flaming liquid between them, so practice is key to a smooth performance.

Lastly, the lemon twist not only garnishes but also imparts a fresh scent, so don’t overlook this finishing touch. Enjoy crafting this classic with care!


Creating the Blue Blazer cocktail requires precision and attention to safety. Before you begin, ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby as a precaution.

  1. Prepare Your Glassware:
    • You will need two heat-resistant mugs. It’s essential to use mugs that can handle the transfer of boiling water and flaming liquid without cracking.
  2. Heat the Mugs:
    • Pour boiling water into the mugs to preheat them. Swirl the water around for a few seconds, then discard it.
  3. Mix the Ingredients:
    • In one mug, combine:
      • 4 ounces of cask-strength Scotch whisky
      • 2 teaspoons of demerara or raw sugar
      • 3 ounces of boiling water
  4. Ignite With Care:
    • Carefully ignite the mixture with a long lighter or match. Remember, safety first—keep your face and body away from the flames and never leave the flaming drink unattended.
  5. The Flaming Transfer:
    • Once ablaze, using a confident and steady hand, pour the flaming liquid from one mug to the other. Keep a moderate distance between the mugs to maintain a continuous flame as you pour.
  6. Repeat the Pour:
    • Continue transferring the mix back and forth a few times to blend the ingredients. This flaming technique also warms the drink and enhances its flavors.
  7. Garnish and Serve:
    • Extinguish the flames by covering the mug with a fireproof lid or tray. Then, finish with a twist of lemon garnish in each mug.
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Pro Tips

When crafting a Blue Blazer, a classic cocktail with a flaming twist famously associated with Jerry Thomas, it’s crucial to prioritize safety while relishing the theatrical performance it provides. Here are some tips to guide you through making this historic drink.


  • Use a silver-plated mug or heat-resistant tankards with handles to prevent burns; these materials are essential for safely handling the flaming beverage.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby as a precaution.


  • Preheat your mugs with boiling water to maintain the temperature of the drink; discard the water before adding your ingredients.
  • Carefully measure your ingredients: typically, a Blue Blazer involves a high ABV Scotch to ensure a successful flame.


  1. Pour the Scotch, boiling water, and a sweetener (to sweeten according to your taste) into one mug.
  2. Ignite the mixture with a long match—keep your face and body at a safe distance.
  3. With confidence and caution, start pouring the flaming liquid between the two mugs back and forth; this is the dazzling effect that gave rise to the Blue Blazer’s fame.

The showmanship reminiscent of Jerry Thomas’ performances in the gambling saloons of the Gold Rush era should be executed with due care. Your aim is to thrill, not to endanger, following the practice of renowned bartenders and mixologists including David Wondrich.

The Drink’s Legacy: It’s a beverage that boasts a lineage of patrons, such as Ulysses S. Grant, and plays cousin to other flamed concoctions like the Flaming Dr. Pepper.

Remember, the Blue Blazer isn’t just a cocktail; it’s an experience recalling the flamboyant days of the El Dorado and the showmanship that defines legendary bartending. Enjoy the preparation process as much as the drink itself. Cheers to your bartending adventure!

Which Liquor Brands to Choose

When crafting your own Blue Blazer cocktail, the choice of scotch whisky is crucial. You’re aiming for a high-proof spirit – think 50% ABV or higher, so the whisky can ignite properly. Below is a curated selection to guide you:

  • High-Proof Scotch Options
    • Aberlour A’bunadh: A robust cask strength scotch perfect for the Blue Blazer’s flame.
    • Glenfarclas 105: A highland single malt with the needed strength.
    • Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength: For a smokier version of the classic cocktail.

For a touch of uniqueness and depending on your taste preference, you might also consider:

  • Other Whisky Variants
    • Booker’s Bourbon: If you’re open to exploring outside of traditional scotch, this bourbon is cask strength and has a robust flavor.
    • George T. Stagg: A high-proof bourbon that adds a bold American twist to the drink.
See also  12 Strongest Whiskeys to Try

Similar Cocktails

If you’re intrigued by the fiery showmanship of the Blue Blazer, there are a handful of other cocktails you might enjoy that also involve a bit of a flame.

  • Flaming Dr. Pepper: Resembling the taste of the soda it’s named after, this cocktail typically involves amaretto, a high-proof spirit like rum, and beer. Lighting it on fire is the dramatic twist that makes it a spectacle.
  • Spanish Coffee: Elevate your coffee experience by adding liqueur and rum, then flame the mixture to caramelize the sugar on the rim of the glass for a warm, inviting flavor.
  • Café Brûlot: A New Orleans classic that includes brandy, spices, and orange peels, served flambé to impress guests with its dazzling preparation.

Here’s a simple table to compare these cocktails alongside the Blue Blazer:

CocktailSpirits InvolvedFlaming ComponentGarnish
Blue BlazerScotch WhiskyScotch itselfLemon Twists
Flaming Dr. PepperAmaretto, High-proof RumHigh-proof RumNone
Spanish CoffeeCoffee Liqueur, RumRum and Sugar RimWhipped Cream
Café BrûlotBrandyBrandy MixSpices
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Bartender Making A Flaming Drink

Blue Blazer

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Blue Blazer
Servings: 2
Author: Paul Kushner
Making a Blue Blazer cocktail requires some technique and practice.
Here are the steps to make this impressive drink:


  • 4 ounces of cask-strength Scotch whisky
  • 2 teaspoons of demerara or raw sugar
  • 3 ounces of boiling water
  • Lemon twists for garnish


  • Preheat two silver-plated tankards or blazer mugs with boiling water, and discard the water before adding the cocktail. Clear all flammable materials from the mixing area.
  • Mixing the Drink
  • Pour the Scotch whisky, boiling water, and sugar into a heat-resistant mug with a handle.
  • Light the mix on fire using a long match. Practice pouring the flaming liquid back and forth between the two mugs until you have a steady stream of flames.
  • While still ablaze, pour the mix into the other mug. Do this about 4 or 5 times.
  • Extinguish the flames by covering the mug with a silver-plated mug or using a fire extinguisher if necessary.
  • Add a lemon twist for garnish and serve immediately.
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let us know how it was!
Blue Blazer
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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