The Flaming Dr. Pepper is a college rite of passage. Despite the name, Dr. Pepper and its Texas-born, 23-flavor recipe is not one of the drink’s ingredients. But the fiery mix of sweet amaretto liqueur, bubbly beer and overproof rum simulate the iconic soft drink remarkably well.
Like many popular cocktails, the Flaming Dr. Pepper shot has competing origin stories. The Ptarmigan Club in Bryan, Texas (located near Texas A&M University), and the Gold Mine Saloon in New Orleans both claim to have invented it in the 1980s. It’s difficult to imagine such a unique drink appearing around the same time, in two different places, but so it goes sometimes with cocktail lore.
Flaming cocktails and shots require an overproof spirit for the brightest pyrotechnic flair. High-proof rum, absinthe and grain alcohol like Everclear can all do the trick. But in the case of the Flaming Dr. Pepper, a dose of potent rum helps the drink achieve its distinct flavor, so that is the preferred choice.
Acclaimed bartender and gin-maker Simon Ford provides this recipe and notes that the Flaming Dr. Pepper is one of his favorite guilty pleasure drinks. To make it, you simply add amaretto to a shot glass, top that with overproof rum and light the liquid on fire. Carefully drop the two-part shot into a pint glass half-filled with beer to extinguish the flame, and drink up. It is customary to consume the contents quickly, as this isn’t what you’d call a sipping cocktail.
Easy as it may be to assemble, the Flaming Dr. Pepper is one drink that’s perhaps best left to the professionals. If you do choose to make it yourself, watch your eyebrows and stash a fire extinguisher nearby. Nothing ruins a good party faster than a blaze.
Watch Now: How to Make a Flaming Dr. Pepper Shot
8 ounces beer
3/4 ounce amaretto
1/4 ounce overproof rum
Fill a pint glass halfway with beer.
Add the amaretto to a shot glass and top with the rum.
Set the rum on fire and very carefully drop the shot glass into the beer.