March 2, 2007

Do You Have to Flame Your Dr. Pepper?

flaming-dr-pepper.jpgWe've been posed with a question that strikes us as one for the ages, and we think we have an answer but we thought we'd check with you, our noble, drunken readers.

The question has to do with the Flaming Dr. Pepper, a majestic drink that has the power of the Philosopher's Stone. You take disparate elements and combine them together to taste like Dr. Pepper. That's what the Philosopher's Stone did, right? Anyway, here's the question from Gina:

Hi Liquor Snob
I'm hoping you can settle a liquor related disagreement. One of my friends can't get enough Flaming Dr. Pepper drinks and he thinks the flame adds carbonation and taste...I think it's just for flare. Can you help?!
Read on for our thoughts, a Flaming Dr. Pepper recipe, and to weigh in with your opinion.

Our opinion? The flaming part is just because people like to light stuff on fire. The real flavor comes from the flavor of the amaretto mixing with the beer; the overproof rum is just there to make it easier to light. Of course, what do we know...we just drink for a living.

Anyway, we're including the cocktail recipe so you can try it out for yourself...make one you light, and try another one without lighting it. Then have one more of each, just for good measure and let us know how it goes. Or, if you've already pondered this quandary, let us know what you came up with by commenting below.

3/4 shot amaretto almond liqueur
1/4 oz 151 proof rum
1/2 glass beer

1. Fill a shot glass about 3/4 full with amaretto and top it off with enough 151 proof rum to be able to burn.

2. Place the shot glass in another glass and fill the outer glass with beer (right up to the level of the shot glass).

3. Ignite the amaretto/151 and let it burn for a while. Blow it out (or leave it burning if you're brave - not recommended) and slam it. Tastes just like Dr. Pepper.

From DrinksMixer; we usually do a variant on this where we drop the whole flaming shebang in the shot glass into a partially filled pint glass, but that's mostly because we don't like to catch our faces on fire.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at March 2, 2007 4:21 PM
Recent Comments

Igniting the alcohol does indeed change the flavor of the drink. Here's a summery a food science article on flambé: Igniting the drink heats it up to 500 degrees and many of the great, flavor-boosting chemical reactions of cooking require high heat. Reactions involving sugar, such as caramelization and browning, occur at temperatures higher than 300 degrees. Because the surface had reached temperatures above 500 degrees, there is noticeable flavor development. On a side note, tests revealed that the flambé removed 79 percent of the alcohol from the cognac.
Here's the link:,

Posted by: Ryan Kelly at March 5, 2007 2:58 AM
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