Belfast On Fire: When Good Flavor Meets Bad Taste

Effortless though it may appear, naming a cocktail can present quite a quandary. Like chefs, home and pro-bartenders are encouraged to think creatively when naming their handiwork, but both food and drink occasionally fall prey to errors in judgment. For every blowjob shot slugged back, some chef somewhere is putting a $17 app on their menu called “Spicy Tuna Fantasy”. In the pantheon of tasteless cocktail names, among the Weeping Jesuses, the Santorums and the Dirty Red Headed Sluts, the Irish Car Bomb stands out for being ubiquitous despite its wholly insensitive moniker (referencing The Troubles, a violent period of Ireland’s history that spans some 30 years). Sexuality and other line-toeing and taboo subjects are no strangers to speakeasies both contemporary and of yore, but violence – and genocide in particular - is an uncommon reference. To wit: I’m unaware of any cocktails that reference the Holocaust or 9/11. In this sense, the Irish Car Bomb is a rare bird. But what if you’re a thinking man’s bigot – the kind of person who’d rather rep their ignorance in a rocks glass instead of a pint? We didn’t set out to make a politically incorrect cocktail; we just started with Tullamore Dew.


Maturing in bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, the 12-year Dew packs a Scotch-like oomph with notes of malt, spice and stone fruits. If this Tween had pipes, it would be singing along to Katy Perry. Instead, its vim and vigor is best paired with stiff, extra-flammable Rittenhouse 100 and Carpano Antica vermouth in a Manhattan/Old Fashioned hybrid that packs a spicy kick thanks to a double dash of chipotle bitters. As the proprietor of said bitters, I can tell you that they pair the smokiness of chipotle peppers with the smokiness of Islay whiskey for a dose of funky, savory heat. Irish whiskey, flaming-hot chilies…the temptation to cheekily plumb the depths of poor taste was too great, and thus the Belfast on Fire was born.

The puppet master behind this unseemly, bracing concoction is Reynolds. Lean and sporting long red locks, the Booker and Dax bartender looks downright devilish with a grin on his face and the flames of a signature Booker and Dax hot poker jumping out of his mixing glass. Spicy cocktails seem like a natural fit for such a spirited man. With the Belfast on Fire in the books, we turned our attention to riff on another classic cocktail, the Blood and Sand. We call it Normandy.

Belfast on Fire

sugar cube 2 dashes chipotle bitters 1 oz Tullamore Dew 12 year whiskey 1 oz Rittenhouse 100 rye ¾ oz Carpano Antica vermouth