How to make:
The drink involves setting whisky alight and pouring it between two silver tankards, creating an arc of flame.
WARNING - please practice with water first to perfect your method. Stand on a non-flammable floor and have suitable fire-fighting equipment nearby. The following recipe makes two drinks.
You will need two large silver-plated tankards with handles. Preheat these with boiling water and warm the whisky. POUR the whisky into one tankard and fresh boiling water into the other. Ignite the whisky using a long match and while still blazing pour the whisky into the other tankard. Then mix ingredients by pouring them from one tankard to the other. The foolhardy increase the distance between the tankards as they pour, thus creating a spectacular long blue flame between the two. Jerry Thomas is said to have held the tankards at a meter's distance from each other. Extinguish flame by covering flaming tankard with base of the other tankard, pour into glass and sweeten to taste by stirring in powdered sugar.
Lemon zest twist
The showy way to make a simple hot whisky punch.
This spectacular serve was created by Jerry Thomas, author of the first bartending book and travelling performance bartender. Thomas was a master of showmanship; he used solid silver bar tools and cups embellished with precious stones and metals. He understood the importance of putting on a show when making drinks and people traveled to see his 'act' as much as they did to try his legendary cocktails.
Nicknamed the 'Professor' due to his ability to deal "with the fanciest orders imaginable", Thomas developed his signature 'Blue Blazer' drink whilst working at the El Dorado, a gambling saloon in San Francisco during the gold rush. Legend has it that Thomas would only make the drink if the outside temperature was 10°C (50°F) or below, making an exception to this rule if the person ordering was suffering with a cold or the flu, whose symptoms the drink was to alleviate.
The story of its creation says that a huge gruff man stormed into the bar Thomas was working in and (quoting from an account by Herber Asbury in 1928) said: "Bar-keep! Fix me up some hell-fire that'll shake me right down to my gizzard!" Thomas then proceeded to pour ignited whisky and boiling water between two cups. In Asbury's story the man drank the cocktail and said "He done it. Right down to my gizzard! Yes, sir, right down to my gizzard!"
President Ulysses S. Grant witnessed Thomas perform this spectacle and was apparently so impressed that he presented him with a cigar. In his 1862 Bartender's Guide Thomas wrote: "A beholder gazing for the first time upon an experienced artist, compounding this beverage, would naturally come to the conclusion that it was a nectar for Pluto rather than Bacchus."