How To Flame Spirits
Spirits are used to flame sauces and desserts. How to successfully flame spirits at home requires a little practice
Igniting a dish at the table never fails to capture everyone’s attention.
When spirits are flamed, the alcohol burns off leaving a concentrated flavor with hints of caramelized sugar, producing a a sublet blend of flavors you can attain no other way.
Spirits for Flaming
It is necessary for flaming to use spirits that are at least 80 proof (40 percent alcohol). Lesser concentrations will not ignite. But not every high proof liqueur is recommended for flaming. In some products the flavor is so delicate it is overpowered by the heat.
Spirits used successfully for flaming are:
- Triple Sec
- Grand Marnier
Low proof liqueurs can be flamed by adding vodka. There are very high proof spirits (180 proof) sold specifically for flaming. These spirits used to produce the spectacular flames seen in some restaurants and on television. But they are so highly flammable as to be considered a safety hazard for home use.
Tips For Flaming
Pour the spirits out of the container just prior to using. Volatile spirits poured out too early can loose too much alcohol to ignite.
If you have never seen how quickly ahocol can evaporate, rub a little 70 percent isopropyl alcohol on your skin and watch it disappear before your eyes. The evaporation also cools your skin.
For best results, warm the spirits separately on low heat to about 125°F or pour on a hot dessert in a pan, heat a few seconds, and ignite using a long match or grill lighter.
You will only have a few seconds to successfully ignite the spirits before the alcohol evaporates.
Don’t expect spectacular flames. The flames may be barely visible in a bright room.
Always that safety precautions when flaming. It is no different from any other form of fire and can be dangerous it not done correctly.
Never ignite spirits near curtains, or other flammable materials.
High proofs spirits can self-ignite if warmed too long before flaming.
Cap the bottle as soon as you’ve measured the liqueur to prevent alcohol evaporation.
Do not leave an open liqueur near the food being flamed.
Always use a long match or grill lighter. Using short matches can result in burns.