Fire…I’m On Fire…!
We were on a deployment to Germany. There was a group of 8 of us who’d gone out for a few beers and had enjoyed ourselves. It was decided by someone, at some stage, that Sambuca would be a ‘good idea’.
Now, dear reader, drinking is never a good idea, and drinking in large quantities is neither big, nor indeed, clever. But on this occasion we had…sampled the local culture enough to want a night-cap, and the Sambuca seemed to be a good way of doing it.
It seemed an even better idea to have ‘flaming Sambucas’. For the uninitiated, this is where a shot glass of Sambuca is filled to the rim and literally set on fire. You then drink the burning liquid. This, itself, raises a danger…the flame is hot and it burns, so if left in the glass for too long before you attempt to drink it, it can make the glass burning hot and lead to your lips being burnt, and secondly you need to put out the flame before actually sipping. The way to do this is to lift the glass, blow sharply across the glass and then throw the drink back quickly.
NEVER breathe in when you have raised the glass to your lips. I have seen this done, and it’s not a pretty sight.
Anyway, this day, we ordered eight ‘flaming Sambucas’. The German bar-maid, after a few bits of sign language and a quick game of charades, understood our request and proceeded to put out eight glasses on a tray.
In each of these glasses she poured a shot of Sambuca – up to the rim.
And then, to each of these glasses, she applied a cigarette lighter and set the alcohol alight.
And then she lifted the tray.
And then, of course, the glasses filled to the rim, and burning away, spilt. And as it spilt, it spilt the burning liquid. Which continued to burn. The barmaid wobbled the tray more. And spilt more burning Sambuca. And then she panicked completely and shook the tray. The Sambuca sloshed about the tray alight, worrying the girl so much she turned and threw the burning liquid and the glasses into the sink, which caused a huge fireball, setting the paper-towel dispenser above the sink on fire.
It was this point that eight hysterical members of the RAF bravely ran from the burning bar, leaving the barmaid in tears and the bar-owner spraying a fire-extinguisher over the sink…