The Blue Blazer

Updated: 08 May 2012 | By:

For bartenders around the world, the Blue Blazer is quite iconic in the sense when you think “Blue Blazer”, you think “Professor Jerry Thomas”. Yes, it was the godfather of the trade who has immortalised himself with this drink. So what is this cocktail? It is one of those cocktails that goes against the grain of the standard method of preparation and serving of cocktails. Instead of being served cold, it is served hot. Instead of using a shaker, it calls for 2 metal mugs. Instead of using ice to chill the cocktail, it uses FIRE to heat the drink.

The Blue Blazer was invented at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. In the El Dorado bar where Professor Jerry Thomas was working then, a man stormed into the bar and demanded to be made something special. Jerry Thomas sized up the man and told him to return in an hour and proceeded to the kitchen. In front of the man and a crowd full of anticipation, he proceeded to prepare a concoction of Scotch whisky and boiling water. He set the mixture aflame and started to pour a blaze of blue fire back and forth between two metal mugs. The man tried it and proclaimed it a success. Thus, a legendary cocktail was born.

Today’s common recipe for this cocktail calls for equal parts of boiling water and Scotch whisky (preferably warmed) usually about 2 ounces. 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar to be mixed in like a cup of tea while the cocktail is still hot and without flame. Finally garnished with a lemon peel.

Should anyone try to make this cocktail, please take time to do some research and take all necessary precautions before attempting to do so. As quoted in Jerry Thomas’s book, “The novice in mixing this beverage should be careful not to scald himself. To become proficient in throwing the liquid from one mug to the other, it will be necessary to practise for some time with cold water*.”

*Wondrich, David (2007). Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar.