Jerry Thomas and The Blue Blazer: the only acceptable flair tending and a recipe for it, and how to make it better.

Jerry Thomas and The Blue Blazer: the only acceptable flair tending and a recipe for it, and how to make it better.

Before we go further, when you try to learn how to make this drink, you are going to hurt yourself. You will burn yourself, light something on fire and in general cause chaos. However, when the blisters heal and you can pull it off correctly, and deftly, it will get you laid. The Blue Blazer Is generally considered to be a bad tasting drink. It has survived for one reason: It is frickin’ sweet. But I offer to you that it has survived for 2 reasons, it is indeed frickin’ sweet and is used to taste good. I have a feeling that it used to taste good because I enjoy the cocktail the Sloe Gin Fizz. But wait how can you compare 2 drinks that only share one ingredient and furthermore are complete polar opposites? Simple, order a Sloe Gin Fizz the next time you go out, 99% chance that one of 2 things will happen, 1. you’ll hear, “no,” 2. you’ll get an awful childrens’ cough medicine tasting cluster fuck of a cocktail. This is simple, there are hardly any sloe gins on the market, only one that I like, (Plymouth Gin, now you owe me) and in that same statistical guessing game, 99% of bartenders under 80 years of age have never made a Sloe Gin Fizz.

The Professor, Jerry Thomas, making a Blue Blazer, showing his flair.

The Professor, Jerry Thomas, making a Blue Blazer, showing his flair.

The same can easily be said of the Blue Blazer. Most bars will only have one or 2 whiskies that will ignite, have never heard of a Blue Blazer, and if you propose that a bartender ignite said whiskey and throw it back and forth between 2 mugs expect to, at the most polite, hear the praise,” who was next?” The reason that bartenders wear vests (aside from the pockets, and cause we got style) is because of Jerry Thomas, the father of modern bartending. Outside of his love of the handlebar mustache, he is credited for writing the first modern cocktail book: Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide. He was the first celebrity bartender and at his best, Thomas made the same wages as the vice president of the time. Us bartenders call him the professor. In 1850s ish was credited with the creation of the Blue Blazer, which is the manly-est most mustachioed of all cocktails. This cocktail is also basically a really fancy hot toddy; but a hot toddy is for sick children and sweet old grandmas, the Blue Blazer is for, “bewiskered giant[s] laden with gold lust, with three layers of pistols strapped around his middle.” Or so the story goes that this giant walked into the El Dorado and asked for ,”some hellfire that’ll shake me right down to my gizzard.” Rather than informing the gun toting Yosemite Sam that human don’t have gizzards, the Professor made him the first Blue Blazer. This story, is likely untrue, several others claim to have invented the drink and its a far better story the way its written above, so, like Washington never telling a lie or like Lincoln freeing the slaves, lets pretend this is true. But feel free to meet me at the 2009 cynics and skeptics convention next week in Chicago. Anyway, let us assume that Thomas invented this drink on the spot to sooth the gunslinggin’ prospector’s soul. He took up two pewter mugs, one of boiling water and one of cask strength scotch and ignited the scotch. He then poured them back and forth between the two mugs, a stream of blue flame flowing from mug to mug. Then, dump into a mug, add a teaspoon of sugar and a twist of lemon. Easy right?

What do you need to make a Blue Blazer? Bravery. Otherwise, you need 2 mugs, or tempered wine glasses, or something that conducts heat well that you can hold in your hand. I use Lux stainless steel tankards.  To test your vessel, use hot water and see how much you feel the heat, and how much it splashes, now imagine that is fire. Assuming you are drunk or brave, follow these instructions below. Not, this is how I make one, not the most authentic, but it tastes good

Blue Blazer Recipe

fill two mugs with hot water let mugs warm up

pour 2oz Bookers Bourbon (flammable and cheap) into a jigger

pour 2 oz hot water and .5 oz agave nectar into another jigger

discard water in mugs pour each jigger’s contents into a separate mug

ignite bourbon mug, pour the flame back and forth 4 or 5 times

pour into an absinthe glass extinguish the mugs by placing them atop each other

garnish with the twist of an entire lemon

This is me playing dress up

This is me playing dress up

Here is a recipe of Kevin Langmack, from Seattle’s Spur, Sun Liquor and best blog name ever: beers in the shower.  He told me he has been doing little gem.

Blazing Saddle Cocktail Recipe

Prepare as a blue blazer, add 9 mint leaves

Use finished product to make a mink julep

And here is one that I came up with for a St Germain dinner at Elemental in Seattle.  Thanks to them and some other guy for putting the dinner together.  Many were injured that night.

Bergamot Blazer Cocktail Recipe

fill two mugs with hot water let mugs warm up

pour 2oz Bookers Bourbon (flammable and cheap) into a jigger

pour 2 oz double strong Eary Grey Tea into another jigger

discard water in mugs pour each jigger’s contents into a separate mug

ignite bourbon mug, pour the flame back and forth 4 or 5 times

pour into an absinthe glass top with 1oz St Germain

extinguish the mugs by placing them atop each other

garnish with the twist of an entire lemon

Good luck, with much practice you’ll master this drink and then promptly never care to make it again.

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8 Responses to Jerry Thomas and The Blue Blazer: the only acceptable flair tending and a recipe for it, and how to make it better.

  1. Wasabi Prime says:

    Short of a Halloween party when we made the horrible decision to try and recreate the “Flaming Moe/Homer” of Simpsons fame, I remain a respectful observer of those who know their craft when it comes to cocktails ablaze.

  2. Alcohology says:

    Ah, tomorrow I am making this Bergamot Blazer for an Xmas party, and I had thought that you infused the Booker’s with the Earl Gray tea…, BUT! Now I know that (of course, as it makes so much more sense) you use TEA instead of just HOT WATER. So simple. And, it’s the best Blue Blazer that I have ever had, since I had it at that Elemental dinner. Fantastic.

    Thanks, Andrew – and, as far as you know, I promise to give you full credit.

  3. Pingback: The Cocktail Advent Calendar « Caskstrength

  4. Pingback: Cocktail Advent Calendar-Dec24 th, The Blue Blazer « Caskstrength

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