The Flaming Dr. Pepper cocktail is so named because it tastes like Dr. Pepper – and then you light it on fire. Because of you do. Really, what better way to party than taking a long-cherished beverage from childhood, converting into an alcoholic cocktail, lighting it aflame and hoping you remember to blow it out before you drink it.
But hold up there, partner. I have to warn you that setting cocktails on fire is a very unsafe thing to do. It’s so tricky that Bacardi stopped producing their 151 rum in the US because they got sued so many times when people in bars lit themselves or property on fire.
So please listen when I say: you actually do not need to set this drink on fire. It will taste the same either way. Except for the time I took these pictures, I have always made it without fire, and jokingly called it “The Freakin’ Dr. Pepper.”
I actually like it better un-flamed, because the flame can tend to heat up the drink, which makes it taste like… warm Dr. Pepper. Bleh. It tastes better without being set on fire, and that’s especially good to know if you’ve already had a couple.
Surprisingly, this one really does taste like Dr. Pepper, or maybe kind of like root beer – it depends what brand of beer you use. Since there’s an art to making it, I’m going to show it step by step. And if it’s getting more complicated than you want, you might want to check out the Mountain Dew cocktail.
There are several ways to make the Flaming Dr. Pepper. The one I recommend is, in my opinion, the safer method. That’s safer, not safe. I’ve nearly burned myself with every method.
Note that this is best done in a dim room like a typical bar, as long as you can see what you’re doing. The flame isn’t super bright, as you’ll see in the pictures.
The (very safe) no-fire version
If you don’t set this drink on fire, you can actually serve it like a boilermaker, which is pretty cool. You fill a shot glass 2/3 of the way with amaretto. Then you pour a glass of beer. Drop the shot into the beer just as you serve it to guests, and voila – some spectacle with your nice, cold, not at all heated drink.
The (safer) flaming version
1. Gather everything you’ll need. Not pictured is a lighter, preferably a candle lighter, because a regular lighter puts your hands awfully close to where the flame’s going to shoot up, and it can take a few seconds of holding the flame against the rum to get it to light.
As I mentioned above, I prefer Disaranno’s Amaretto for just about anything else involving amaretto, but through some kind of shopping list fail, I didn’t have it on hand for this picture. Of course, you might feel Disaranno is wasted on a cocktail like this, and the Hiram Walker certainly tastes just fine.
For beer, I used Harp Lager just because I personally like it, but any beer, lager or pale ale should work. The Bacardi is no longer with us, but Cruzan 151 can substitute.
2. Fill a shot glass about two-thirds of the way with the amaretto.
3. Now pour the rum slowly over the top. You may want to use a pourer spout. While the rum’s pouring, you can see that it looks a bit oilier than the amaretto, and is floating to the surface. It’s a little bit hard to tell in the photo, but the part on top is slightly more cloudy than the rest.
4. Put the shot glass down in a bigger glass, preferably a big fat mug, and pour beer in around it, just up to the top of the shot glass.
5. Light the rum at the top of the shot glass on fire. It can take a few seconds to catch, and the fire doesn’t burn all that hot, but I still suggest you use a candle lighter with a long handle or a match. A regular lighter puts your fingers too close to the flame.
6. Serve immediately, while it’s still lit, and instruct guests to blow it out and then chug it so they get the beer mixing with the amaretto for the Dr. Pepper taste.
- 1 1/2 ounces amaretto (Disaranno is tastiest)
- 1/2 ounce Cruzan 151 proof rum
- 1/2 glass beer
- Pour the amaretto into a shot glass - make sure it's only 2/3 full.
- Slowly pour the 151 proof rum on top of the amaretto so it floats.
- Set the shot glass of amaretto into a wide beer mug.
- Pour beer into the mug, around the shot glass, and to the top of the shot glass.
- Optionally, light the rum on fire and then serve, but make sure you or your guest blows out the flame before attempting to drink.