Red hot ale

Put away that tired old cranberry hooch. Dave Arnold and Nils Noren are going to set you up right

By Francis Lam

Published December 19, 2009 2:01AM (EST)

Granted, you probably won't have a double-insulated poker that can heat up to 1,700 degrees at the press of a button at home, but after yesterday's post, did you think I would leave you hanging without Dave Arnold and Nils Noren's recipe for their red hot ale? Regardless of whatever family drama does or doesn't go down, it is guaranteed to make your holiday a party to remember.

This is a drink that turns from light and refreshing to butter and candied nuts with the zap of a hot wand. For the home mixer, Dave says that an old, very clean fireplace poker will work wonderfully. (Read this post on their blog for details.) Just heat it in the fireplace or on a stove burner until it's glowing hot to the core, like bright-red terrifyingly hot.

But do be safe: Use a heavy pint glass. Hold it with a thick, dry towel. Don't aim it toward yourself, because flames will shoot out of the glass several feet in the air once you put the poker in. In fact, it's best if you have a protective gloves and eyewear. (But isn't the danger part of the fun of it? Now excuse me while I get my lawyers on the phone.)

Red hot ale

3 ounces Abbey Ale
1 ounce cognac
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
1 orange twist

  1. Combine all ingredients except orange twist in a heavy pint glass.
  2. Using a thick bar or kitchen towel, hold the glass, pointing slightly away from you. If you have protective gloves and eyewear, put them on. Be careful! The drink will bubble violently, ignite and shoot flames once you stick in your red-hot poker. Stir the drink with the poker gently, being careful not to hit the side of the glass. How long you do this depends on exactly how hot your poker is, so since you're doing it by sight, Dave advises you to watch the fire. If it's a real flamethrower, keep the poker in there until the flame just starts to die down. If the flame shoots out and vanishes, it's possible your poker isn't super-hot, but keep it in there anyway and let the drink bubble and boil until you smell a nice toasty, caramel aroma.
  3. Pour the drink into a warm serving glass (the mixing glass will be too hot to drink from, and by pouring it out, you can watch for any stray particles from your poker) and garnish with an orange twist.

For more home-friendly holiday drink recipes from Nils and Dave, go here. 

Francis Lam

Francis Lam is Features Editor at Gilt Taste, provides color commentary for the Cooking Channel show Food(ography), and tweets at @francis_lam.

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