I’ll be honest: making this martini recipe is kind of a pain in the ass but hot dang, when you do it right, it’s all worth it.
The Flame Of Love cocktail is a citrus take on the classic martini and has one hell of a star-studded backstory. It features Dean Martin, Beverly Hills and Frank Sinatra and like, a LOT of oranges.
Around the 1970’s, vodka was in and gin was out, mostly thanks to James Bond popularizing a Vodka Martini. (shaken, not stirred) So, a Dry Martini was the hot drink of the moment (fun fact – you can trace this recipe back to the Martinez recipe, featured here.)
But thanks to the Probohitbiton and World War II, bitters became almost impossible to find and still hadn’t made a comeback by the 70’s. If you wanted extra flavors in your cocktail – like orange – you had to use the fruit itself.
Flame Of Love Martini Origin Story
So, the story of the Flame of Love goes like this: Dean Martin was throwing back drinks at the Chasen in Beverly Hills (a hot spot for celebrities of the time). Bored of what he was drinking, Dean Martini asked his bartender to whip him up something new.
Well, you can’t disappoint a legend like Dean Martin. The bartender, Pepe Ruiz, created the Flame of Love cocktail. He made a standard vodka martini but served it in a sherry rinsed glass and then topped it all with a flamed orange peel.
The latter is what makes this recipe unique, tasty and super fun to watch being made (but, a pain to make yourself.) It’s not an easy task to burn orange peels and squeeze out their oils, let me tell you. I feel extra bad for Pepe Ruiz because he had to use matches instead of a lighter.
But when you put in the effort, you get a strong orange martini with a hint of smokey flavor. It’s good. Like, really good. I’m not a fan of the original martini drink recipe so I love that making these for myself when Robin is sipping on a classic recipe. He sometimes throws pickles into his martinis, which is another twist I’ll have to share soon.
Frank Sinatra Loved It, Too
I have a feeling the Flame of Love became the Chasen’s signature drink because Frank Sinatra ordered 52 Flame of Love cocktails for his birthday party guests one year. While I usually prefer cocktail recipes that have a bit more sweetness to them, I love how old school this drink tastes. It totally makes me want to blast “That’s Amore” and dance with Robin in our kitchen.
- Peel of 1 medium orange
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/4 oz fino sherry or manzanilla sherry
- Peel an orange in large swathes.
- Add vodka and sherry into a mixing glass or cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and stir or shake until the drink is cool.
- Take a chilled glass and flame all but one orange peel over the glass, with the goal of releasing oils from the orange and squeezing them (if possible) onto the sides of the coupe.
- When you've burned all the peels, strain the cocktail mixture into the glass.
- Flame the last orange peel and garnish
To make this you'll also need:
- Cocktail Shaker
- Chilled coupe glass
On a personal note, I found it hard to flame orange peels. I ended up burning them and them rubbing the peels around the rim of the glass to transfer the orange oils. Totally works!
If you make this recipe, leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul so I can see!