Light My Fire

A sophisticated modern drink that delivers cold-weather flavors with a theatrical flare

NO 148
NO 148
Light My Fire cocktail photo



  1. Add chartreuse to an ice cold coupe glass and set aside
  2. Combine all other ingredients with ice and shake
  3. Light chartreuse on fire via mist and flame method
  4. Extinguish by slowly straining drink into coupe and garnish
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This showy drink arrives courtesy of the excellent Canon cocktail book, published by its namesake bar in Seattle. In a dimly-lit bar like Canon, it undoubtedly won favor amongst other menu items because of its flashy preparation; the beverage is presented by lighting a Chartreuse rinse aflame before dousing it with the rest of the drink. That said, when we first tried this recipe we didn’t bother with the fire and it didn’t matter; it’s pretty good by any terms. The drink has a heavenly nose full of fruit, pear, lavender, and juniper. On the sip, it begins with sharpness from the lemon, followed by botanicals from the gin and a lingering complexity from Chartreuse as it sits on the back of the tongue. It is emphatically in the dry gin style, but with a transfixing cold-weather seasonal vibe.

Choosing a proper gin for this drink is imperative. We first made it with Benham’s gin and the results were fabulous. We later made the drink with a complex American-style gin and wondered if our excitement was premature. On our third and final attempt we used Barmatt’s gin and again the result was excellent. The key is to use a London Dry style gin with a mellow profile. Bonus points if the gin has notes of citrus. This recipe calls for a pear liqueur, not a pear brandy. Pear liqueur is sweet and fruity, while pear brandy tastes like fruit-flavored paint thinner, so it shouldn’t be hard to tell what you have. We used St. George’s spiced pear liqueur to excellent results. If you only have pear brandy, a combination with simple syrup could work as a replacement. As previously mentioned, you don’t have to light the chartreuse on fire, but in a taste test we did notice that the caramelization added a nice nuttiness, and besides: lighting Chartreuse on fire is super easy and looks pretty freaking cool. What is there to lose?

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