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.
Normally I don’t like to make drinks that require a lot of ingredients. Why? The answer is the potential for multiple points of failure.
Besides the complexity of putting lots of ingredients into one glass without spilling, if the drink requires lots of ingredients then it is more likely that you’re going to be out of something, and then that’s going to screw up your plans.
But sometimes a drink is just so good; you have to make it – even if it has a lot of ingredients. And besides, when it comes to the ingredients in a Rum Runner, any self-respecting Drunk should have all this stuff stocked anyway.
Now, this is a drink that requires a short history lesson. The Rum Runners were the guys who smuggled rum from the Caribbean, Europe, and Canada to the United States during Prohibition. At first they used small, fast boats and carried small amounts of cargo. But by then end of Prohibition, their operations were much more sophisticated.
I’ve spoken before about the most successful and notorious Rum Runner. His name was Bill McCoy, and he hauled mostly Canadian and Irish whiskies to the Northeast Coast. His product was so well regarded that today we still refer to products of quality as “the real McCoy.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to brave machine gun fire from Coast Guard cutters just to have a sip of Rum. Getting the ingredients to make a Rum Runner requires only a quick trip to the store.
A couple months ago I presented a different version of the Rum Runner. Since then I’ve been hard at work researching a better recipe; and Holy Crap is this good!
Here’s how to make a BETTER Rum Runner:
- 1 oz Light Rum
- 1 oz Dark Rum
- 2 oz Pineapple Juice
- ½ oz Brandy
- ½ oz Banana Liqueur
- 1 oz Orange Juice
- ¼ oz Simple Syrup
- Juice of ½ lime
- Dash of Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker about half filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into a highball glass with ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of lime. Gulp.
As the name suggests, this is a Martini that is made with Tequila. With Martinis, the supporting ingredients are there to bring out the taste of the primary liquor more than they are to make an impression of themselves.
The Cigar Smoking Man points out on his blog the importance of using bitters (sparingly) in this drink. He also makes a good point about bitters – that bitters are to cocktails as salt is to food.
True enough. Bitters do bring out an extra element in many drinks. Like salt, a little goes a long way. If you’ve put enough in your drink to be able to taste it, then you’ve probably used too much.
Here’s how to make a Tequini:
- 1 ½ oz of Tequila
- ½ oz of Dry Vermouth
- 1 Dash of Bitters (I used Angostura)
Directions: As with all martinis, the method of mixing is to STIR the ingredients gently with ice so you don’t bruise the liquor. Then strain the clear drink into a cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.
Also, when you get a chance, you should visit the Cigar Smoking Man’s blog. It’s a great read, even for non-smokers like me.
Our drinking adviser, Travis, suggested we make our Friday 5 o’clock cocktail a Manhattan – largely because it has Bourbon in it.
Sound like a fine reason to drink a Manhattan to me.
How to Make a Manhattan
- 2 1/2 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Vermouth
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- 1 Maraschino Cherry
- 1 Twist of Orange Peel
Combine the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir gently. Strain the spirits into a chilled coctail glass and add the cherry and orange peel twist.