These were the years before the sobering Reagan era and the rise of the Moral Majority in 1979. It was a time that produced a slew of strangely flavored, sickeningly sweet cocktails (some pulled from the obscurity of previous decades), with bawdy names like the Slow Comfortable Screw Against A Wall. It was also a time that produced my favorite Christmas cocktail: The Blue Blazer.
The Blue Blazer is found in Playboy's Host & Bar Book (circa 1976), as part of a chapter called Hot Cheer, which states "Hot drinks should be just warm enough so that flavors seem to float like the soft clouds on an old silk painting..." Ha. And you thought I laid it on thick!
The reason I like the Blue Blazer so much is because it's fucking dangerous. Not in the "it'll get you plastered" way, but in the "you might light yourself, your date, your Christmas tree, and your pet on fire" way.
Here's the recipe in full, as it appears in the Host & Bar Book:
6 ounces Irish Whiskey or Scotch
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup boiling water
Both nightcap and toast, the blue blazer should be served steaming hot and sipped slowly. (And to create a decent blaze, it should be mixed for two.) For mixing it you need two heavy and rather deep mugs, about 12-oz. capacity. Rinse them with hot of boiling water before mixing the drink. Then pour honey and boiling water into one mug and stir until honey is dissolved. Heat whiskey in a saucepan until it's hot but not boiling. Pour into second mug. Light it. Pour whiskey—carefully—back and forth between the mugs. The flowing blue-flaming stream will be best appreciated in a dimly lit room. Since a few drams of the blazing whiskey may spill, it's best to pour it over a large silver or china platter. When flames subside, pour the blazer into two thick cut-glass goblets. Twist the lemon peel over the blazer and drop it into the drink. Some bartenders wear asbestos gloves when making a blue blazer.
One should only make a single round of blue blazers. Here's a worst case scenario for the second round:
You and your date are feeling the spirit after your first blue blazer. It's all smiles in the dim room, there on the bearskin rug, as you cuddle in front of the fireplace. Things are getting quite cozy. You decide to make another blazer to really get things moving in the right direction.
You're feeling cavalier as you prepare the mugs, and the first round has left you a bit buzzed, cocky, and loose. You light that mother up, deciding you'll show off by seeing how far you can pour the burning booze. The silver platter glints in the firelight as you raise one mug and pour.
But the room is too dim and it throws off your aim. The blazing liquor splashes onto your unprotected hand. Surprised by the burn, you drop the mug, which clatters on the silver tray spraying your best polyester slacks, and your date's polyester Christmas dress, with flaming whiskey. She bats at the flames frantically, but manages, in the commotion, to ignite her heavily-sprayed hairdo. Panicking, she begins stumbling around the room, screaming, while you try to smother the flames with the now smoldering bearskin rug. The fire creeps up your pant legs as the molten fabric begins to bond with your skin. The stench is incredible. Your date falls into the flocked, dry Christmas tree, which immediately bursts into flames. Welcome to your Christmas hell.