Perfect Manhattans on hand-cut ice are cool and all, but sometimes you want some Señor Frog’s-level wildness with your drinks. What better way to get that fix in than by sipping on a flaming cocktail or drink that’s been frozen by liquid nitrogen?
Thanks to science and some seriously talented bartenders, there is an array of cocktails that combine alcohol and a show. We’re talking about truly theatrical bartending, which is more about entertainment than the hush-hush pedantry that’s taken over many of today’s craft-cocktail bars.
From the iconic Flaming Lamborghini to unbeatable liquid nitrogen shots, here are bartending tricks you have to see in order to believe:
The Rainbow Bomb
If you thought regular-old rainbow shots were impressive, Myst Thonglor’s “Rainbow Bomb” is about to change your life. The bartender in the video above offers a range of rainbow-colored shots to create a liquid-nitrogen Jägerbomb-type libation that demands attention.
Staying true to its name, Flaming Lamborghini—a bonafide stunt-bartending classic—is a cocktail that is literally lit. The drink features an empty wine glass, snifter, and a shot glass stacked on top of a martini. The bartender pours a mixture of Sambuca and Kahlua in the top shot glass and sets it on fire. As the Kahlua-Sambuca mixture pours down the tower, flames engulf the drink.
The Jägerbomb Balance Technique
Philip Traber is a Jägerbomb master from Soest, Germany who is so good, he almost snatched the world record for flying hirsch glasses. In a crazy stunt, Traber is able to pour a stack of Jäger shots into tiny glasses which he then tips over to create a domino effect that leaves every drink filled and ready to go. This is clearly not your average college Jägerbomb, and definitely not your average bartender.
For those looking for a slightly less theatrical—but still amazing—cocktail, José Andrés’ liquid nitrogen caipirinha is your best bet. This cocktail combines lime, sugar, and a light spirit mixed with liquid nitrogen to create the frozen treat. Think of it as an upgraded slushie cocktail that slays the 7-Eleven Slurpees you spiked back in college.
If flaming drinks are something you’re into, the backdraft shot should be your next order. It may look like your run-of-the-mill shot when it arrives, but this drink is set on fire and sparked with a little bit of cinnamon. Then, a pint glass is set on top of the flaming shot and you’re left to inhale the remaining vapor.
Fire and Ice
When talking about classic bartending theatrics, you can’t leave out Albert Trummer. This bartender’s antics are so out there, that he almost burned down a bar creating what witnesses told the New York Times looked like a “huge fireball” with his crazy stunts. His Fire and Ice drink uses a stack of champagne flutes and dry ice next to what looks like a raging bonfire on top of the bar. A lot is going on here, but this is a drink you are bound to remember forever.
Thanks to bartender Jerry Thomas, we can all enjoy classic cocktails that look like they are made of actual liquid fire. The drink revolutionized the way we mix fire and alcohol. Thomas’ Blue Blazer was created back when he was working at El Dorado in San Francisco. If you’re interested in ordering a similar version of the cocktail for yourself, you can ask an experienced bartender for a Hot Toddy done “Blue Blazer style” and watch as your drink changes into liquid flames, looking like a scene straight out of Harry Potter.