Dean Martin: The Flame of Love Cocktail
September 16, 1965 – “The Dean Martin Show”, debuted on NBC-TV. This comedy/vareity show was also known as The Dean Martin Variety Show and featured Martin’s 1964 hit “Everybody Loves Somebody” as its theme. At first, Martin was leery of accepting the job, fearing it would interfere with potential movie and nightclub gigs, so much so that he turned in a potentially outrageous list of contractual demands to the network bosses. To his surprise, they agreed. When he broke the news to his family, Martin was reported to have said, “They went for it. So now I have to do it.” Ultimately the Dean Martin Show would run for 9 seasons from 1965 – 1974, totaling 264 episodes.
By design, the show did much to reinforce Martin’s (largely put-on)”drunken playboy” image, but the truth is that his ubiquitous old-fashioned cocktail, was usually merely apple juice in disguise.
Though his on-air cocktails may have been fake, one cannot escape the classic Rat Pack image of Dean Martin on Stage with a Martini in hand. Though this may once again have been more for the mystique of it. Martin’s son, Ricci stated “I never saw Dad drink a martini”, and that his father usually enjoyed a watered-down glass of scotch on stage.
Another classic drink linked to Dean Martin fame is the Flame of Love, created by Pepe Ruiz, bartender at Chasen’s in Beverly Hills. Weary of ordering the same Martini again and again, Martin asked Ruiz to make him something special the next time he came in. Ruiz pondered a bit and then settled on some version of the recipe below. You can see that quite a bit of meticulous time and effort goes in the prepping of the glass. Imagine the chagrin of the bar staff on the night that Martin ordered a Flame of Love for buddy Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was so impressed that he ordered a round of them for the entire joint…
At Tales of the Cocktail 2014, I had the pleasure of drinking one created and served up by King Cocktail himself, Dale DeGroff and I’ve been a bit scared to attempt one myself, fearing that I’d ruin the memory, but if you’d also like to get in the proper mood to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dean Martin Show, we have included the recipe below:
Flame of Love
recipe adapted from Robert Hess
- 2 oz Vodka
- Splash of fino sherry
Coat a chilled martini glass with the sherry and pour out the excess. Flame several orange peels into the glass (about 8 times). Stir the vodka with ice, then strain into the glass. Squeeze an orange peel over the drink and then rub it around the rim to coat it well.