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Cocktail Spotlight: The Flaming Moe

The harsh glare of our “cocktail spotlight” falls today on the drink made famous in season three, episode ten of The Simpsons – the Flaming Moe (AKA the Flaming Homer).  No longer just a figment of some TV writer’s imagination, the Flaming Moe is actually concocted (and presumably drunk) around the world, although, as you will see, the recipes vary quite a bit.

The underlying problem is this: The “official” recipe for the drink, as described by Homer, is quite vague:

I decided to mix the little bits that were left in every liquor bottle. In my haste, I had grabbed a bottle of the kid’s cough syrup. It passed the first test:  I didn’t go blind . . .  I don’t know the scientific explanation, but FIRE MADE IT GOOD.

However, there seem to be three essential elements: (1) bits of different liquor; (2) cough syrup; and (3) fire.  The following are several variations of the Flaming Moe recipe, which we will examine in turn in an attempt to determine which is closest to the platonic ideal of a Flaming Moe.

First, we have the 20th Century Fox sanctioned recipe, courtesy of the Official Simpsons “Flaming Moe’s Recipe Pint Glass”:

  • 4 oz. Tequila
  • 4 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • 4 oz. Creme de Menthe
  • 2 oz. Grape Soda
  • Mix ingredients into a shaker. Strain into a glass and pray.

BLARGGH!  The grape soda is obviously a cop out for liability purposes, since they don’t want to be encouraging any “off-label” uses of cough syrup.  Also, I have a hard time believing this is a serious recipe, based on the ingredients.  Maybe I’m wrong – really, its the Tequila-Peppermint Scnapps combo that gets me. or maybe its Tequila -Creme de menthe.

The next recipe comes from About.com.


  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz blackberry liqueur
  • 1 oz strawberry juice
  • cough syrup


  1. Pour all ingredients except the cough syrup in a highball glass.
  2. Stir.
  3. Add cough syrup.
  4. Ignite and extinguish before drinking.

Certainly a better effort than the one above, it sounds like it might be drinkable, although the cough syrup is bit of a wild card.  It seems like a bit of an afterthought, actually, thrown in just for the sake of the show. First of all, no amount of cough syrup is specified, which will obviously have a huge impact on the drink.  second, no specific flavor or brand is mentioned – there are numerous diferent flavors and types of cough syrup, each of which will react very differently with the other ingredients. Finally, the recipe seems to suggest that the cough syrup will ignite when lit, where it suggests adding it last, without stirring.  I find it very hard to believe that this will happen (although in fairness I am making an assumption).

Basically, this is a fruity cocktail with the second two essential elements (cough syrup, fire) tacked on in a slapdash manner.  Let’s keep going…..

Courtesy of Yahoo Answers

1 shot Kahlua
1 shot Sambuca
1 shot Baileys Irish Cream
1 shot blue Curacao

Pour Kahlua into warmed cocktail glass. Gently pour half Sambuca over back of spoon so it floats on top. Pour the Baileys and blue Curacao into 2 shot glasses. Pour remaining Sambuca into a warmed wine glass and carefully set alight. Pour it into the cocktail glass with care. Pour the Baileys and Curacao into lighted cocktail glass at the same time. Serve with a straw (when the flames die, obviously)

Wha?? Well, pretty complicated and also, where is the cough syrup?? This one seems to have at least gotten two of the essential elements right, and I have a much easier time believing that the Sambuca will burn.  Unlike the first entry, this seems like it might actually be drinkable.  So, not perfect but a better effort.

Okay, this next one, courtesy of Wikibartender.org .

  • 1 oz. Brandy
  • 1/2 oz. Blackberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Creme de Menthe
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz. Sloe Gin
  • 2 tbsp. Grape Cough Syrup (Krusty Non-Narkotik Kough Syrup)
  •  Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add crushed ice and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass. Light on fire.

    This recipe appears to contain all three essential elements, and also looks like it might taste decent.  It gets points for specifying both a flavor and amount of cough syrup. My one complaint (without actually having tasted it) is that I  don’t think you can just light this drink, particularly after shaking it with ice.  But so far the best entry.

    Finally, courtesy of Boise Weekly, this is not a recipe although, if the description is accurate, the underlying recipe deserves an honorable mention.  Although it does not contain any of the essential elements, think of it as sort of an artistic interpretation: 

    Soon after the episode aired, some Finnish bartenders devised a recipe based on the fictional drink. The cocktail, called Salmiakki Koskenkorva, or Salmari for short, is made with a Finnish vodka flavored with ground-up salty licorice candy named Turkish Pepper. This candy contains ammonium chloride, giving the cocktail a black licorice and cough medicine taste. It has the unique side effect of stimulating the salivary glands, an effect similar to Homer’s ability to immediately drool around anything appetizing. The Salmari cocktail had its heyday in the 1990s, creating somewhat of a cocktail revolution in Finland at the time. Today it is apparently still a popular drink for tourists.

    In conclusion: for all aspiring mixologists and stunt drinkers who are determined to try the Flaming Moe, my suggestion, after my extensive research, would be to go with the Wikibartender recipe above.  However – assuming it won’t light, try pouring 151 or some other bad-ass booze very gently over the rounded side of a spoon onto the top of the drink, and then light that.

    1. August 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Reblogged this on thedrinkdoctor and commented:
      I tried the version from Wikibartender.org, substituting Creme de Cassis for the Blackberry Liquor. I could not get it to light on fire to save my life, even after I floated a ton of 151 on top. Great article on a novel drink, shrouded in mystery and clearly in violation of the warnings on the back of the Dimetapp box.

    2. March 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      its not good unless you use 2 oz of hydrocodone syrup

    3. January 9, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      Hi there friends, its wonderful post on the topic of teachingand fully
      defined, keep it up all the time.

    1. November 10, 2015 at 7:31 PM

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