Flame of Love Cocktail

This drink was created by Pepe Ruiz, bartender at Chasen’s in Beverly Hills. Dean Martin had apparently grown tired of the same Martini over and over again, and asked Pepe for something different. This is the drink Pepe came up with.


2 oz Vodka

Splash of fino sherry


Coat a chilled martini glass with the sherry and pour out the excess.

Flame several orange peels into the glass (about 8 times).

Stir the vodka with ice, then strain into the glass.

Squeeze an orange peel over the drink and then rub it around the rim to coat it well.


blair frodelius 17 Jul 2012
1:31 pm


One question I’ve never seen asked is whether it makes any difference whether you use a lighted match or a BIC lighter when flaming a peel.

This is one of the few vodka heavy cocktails that I enjoy.  That being said, I have never had one made for me.  It’s another of my home bar standards when I’ve got Dino playing on the turntable.  :)



Robert Hess 17 Jul 2012
1:47 pm


Using a lighter would make something like this a lot easier, because you wouldn’t have to regularly light a new match. However just as i don’t like to add lighter fluid to my charcoal when I bbq, I don’t like using a lighter for flaming peels because I feel it adds a bit of a chemical flavor to the end results. I suppose what would work best, especially for this, would be to use a long fireplace match that would last a little longer, or perhaps a lighter filled with a neutral grain spirit so as not to add any “petroleum by products” to the equation? Hmmmm….


Robert Hess 17 Jul 2012
2:06 pm

I should clarify the use of “Sherry” in this drink. If you check your store shelves, you’ll no doubt see several different options. Originally this drink was apparently made with what is known as “Fino” sherry. Fino is the palest of your sherry choices, but I like to use something with just a little more backbone to it, and so chose to use Amontillado here. If you want something even deeper in flavor, then you might want to try an Oloroso. In a cocktail that uses an actual “measure” of sherry in it, your choice will have a more decided impact on the final drink, but here where we are just coating the glass, the difference will be more subtle.

blair frodelius 17 Jul 2012
2:44 pm


I like the idea of “vodka” lighters.  I wonder if it would work in a refillable lighter.  I agree that there seems to be just a bit of chemical aftertaste when using a BIC lighter. 

One other time saving option is to fill a mister with organic orange oil and spray it over the glass while lighting it on fire.  I’ve seen this done to great effect with absinthe and Chartreuse for instance. 



Stephen Botting 25 Jul 2012
1:48 am

Hi Robert, I tried this one out the other night with a friend, I liked it but I probably wouldnt put in my top 10. I think this drink would benefit from a really excellent quality Vodka like Chase or Grey Goose. I used 42Below which seemed to work well.

Also would just like to add that I know you like your juicers/citrus pressers so I found this one one ebay:

Maybe you should have a bid on it!

Danny 25 Jul 2012
7:54 pm

Robert, sorry for being off topic here, but I’ve always wanted to ask you if you have an opinion on ice - when stirring, shaking, or its size and shape etc.  And if so, will you be doing an episode regarding this topic.

Robert Hess 31 Jul 2012
8:21 am

Danny, ice is a very important part of making a great cocktail, and one that is often underappreciated by many bar owners. If you want to get “really” picky, you can select different ice for different types of drinks. The obvious ones of course are things like a mint julep, which likes to have crushed/powdered ice, or a cobbler which should have more “pebbled” ice. But you can also pick ice that is better for stirring your martini with, or ice that is better for shaking in a daiquiri.

Edison 1 Aug 2012
7:36 pm

I’ve been following you for some time Robert, and I must say you make delightful & beautiful drinks! Also elegant touch and finesse you have, excellent! I’ve actually learned quite a bit up to this point. I have bought steadily and slowly my own spirits and practiced with water and other misc. liquids. And every so often with real spirits to get the real taste I can’t get anywhere else but home. Haven’t found a place in NY that makes one great drink! If anyone knows, please recommend me. Gladly appreciated.

Robert Hess 2 Aug 2012
9:52 am


Glad you have been enjoying the show and working dilligently at home to perfect your craft! As for NY cocktails, you should be able to easily find some great drinks there, it is one of the best cities in the country for having some really great cocktail experiences, second only to Seattle in my mind :->

My personal recommendation would be to first give the Pegu Club a try (77 W. Houston St, 2nd floor), and I’d recommend trying them on an evening besides Friday or Saturday (which get fairly busy) Personally, I prefer going to bars on slower nights so I can have a better chance of getting a seat at the bar. All of the drinks you get there should match up very well with what you seem me do on my show.

Other great bars would be Employees Only, Milk & Honey, Death & Company, PainKiller (aka: PKNY), Clover Club, Dutch Kills, and several others.


Edison 2 Aug 2012
10:25 am

Great! I will try those places. Thank you so much. It means a lot that you responded to my query.  Please do keep up the great old fashioned cocktail videos coming!

Michael Hennesy 11 Aug 2012
4:07 pm

Employees Only is a great one in NYC. I read about the guys who started it and they take as much pride and dedication as Robert does into making the finest cocktails. I haven’t been there yet but it’s on my bucket list.  Thanks, for the Flame of Love , Robert ,..I will try it.  Do you like Tito’s Vodka ?  Would it work for this cocktail ?

Robert Hess 12 Aug 2012
1:38 pm

I think that Tito’s vodka is fine, although I think other less expensive brands are just as good (if not better). Vodka is a category that you need to be VERY careful about spending more than you should. Anybody who thinks they have a favorite vodka should try a blind taste test some time at home.

Invite some friends over and have each one sign up to bring their favorite vodka (make sure there aren’t any duplicates). Try to make sure that nobody has a good idea “what” vodkas are being tasted. And you should supply a “solid” standard vodka (Absolut, Smirnoff, etc.) something not terribly expensive, but not cheap either.

One person, out of sight of the others, pours the vodkas into identical carafe’s, and then marks each carafe with a number (1, 2, 3, 4…) and records which vodka they put in which number.

That person hides the “evidence” of the vodka bottles, and leaves the room.

Another person comes in and randomly replaces the numbers with letters. AND records which letter they assigned to which numbered carafe, and then removes the numbers.

NOBODY should now know what vodka is in what carafe.

Now you bring the vodkas out to your friends and everybody pours tastes of the different vodkas and discusses what they think of them. They should NOT try to guess which vodka is which, just try to figure out which one they like… and why.

Compare your notes and see if there is a clear winner/loser in this, and if the differenes between them were highly obvious (ie. would you pay $5 more a bottle for the “best” one over the “worst” one?).

Now make a vodka cocktail with both the “best” and “worst” ones (and perhaps one or two others)... if you want to take the time to “double blind” this as well, so much the better.

The key here is to notice how much difference there is between these vodkas when used in a cocktail.

Once this is all done and everybody has an idea of where their favors lie, have the two people who prepared the vodkas compare notes so you can figure out which vodka was which.

I totally expect some of your friends will be VERY surprised by the results of this.


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