by Raul Faria

The Awol is a layered shooter…that you light on fire. It’s a head turner for sure and will get the whole bar wondering what you’re up to; it’s also #21 in our mission to recreate all the cocktails in the Joy of Mixology Book by Gaz Regan. The trick to this shooter is the layering; it needs to be done SLOWLY to work. Also, the glass that you choose can make or break your attempt, so we will be looking specifically for something short and fairly narrow. This shooter is a cocktail with four common ingredients found in most bars and liquor stores, so it’s pretty easy get the ingredients together; the big attraction for bar or party guests will be our layering and of course some fire. We will go over layering techniques and how to safely utilize the pyrotechnics in this cocktail 🙂 Ready to make one?

1) Let’s get our tools ready; we will need our Barspoon, a jigger with a .75 oz measure and a 3-4 oz pousse café (stemmed, narrow, often fluted small glass) or shot glass. Our shopping list will consist of Midori, Vodka, Bacardi 151 and Pineapple Juice. This shot is best enjoyed when the spirits and juice are chilled ahead of time. Simply store the bottles in the refrigerator or cooler beforehand.

Layering- The trick to layering is the right tools, right technique and knowing the density of each ingredient. The basic rule of thumb in regards to the density or weight of the ingredients is the sweeter the ingredient the heavier it will be. Grenadine will sink like a rock, but a spirit like Vodka should float on top of any syrupy, creamy or sugary stuff you have on the back bar or liquor cabinet. I would also recommend pouring our measures into a separate pourable container like a small carafe, narrow glass or small mason jar (basically looking for something that will pour easy and allow us better control over the flow of liquid) and then over our barspoon to create our layers. The reasoning is two-fold, first it can sometimes be difficult to control the flow from a bottle when attempting to layer an ingredient and secondly it will allow us to better measure our ingredients by being able to utilize our jigger (trying to layer from a jigger is not impossible but very difficult if using a standard jigger). We will use our barspoon and hold it right up against our glass (see pic below). We will pour SLOWLY over the spoon so the liquid pours against the side of the glass, resting on top of the previously layered ingredient. Repeat this step for each layer. Guess which book walks you through the layering process and even provides a guide of the densities of popular spirits and liqueurs? The Joy of Mixology by Gaz Regan of course!

2) Let’s begin with the ingredient with that is the heaviest (i.e. most sugar) the Midori. We will add our .75 oz of Midori to our glass. Midori is a Japanese melon liqueur made by the Suntory Company and has been produced since 1978. It launched at the Famous Studio 54 nightclub and has been a presence on the scene ever since with cocktails like the Melon Ball, Tokyo Tea, Scooby Snack, and Crocodile Cooler.

3) Next we will now measure our .75 oz of pineapple juice and add it to our pourable container, with our barspoon right against our glass pour slowly over the top of the spoon so the pineapple juice runs against the side of the glass and layers over the Midori.

4) Now we are going to measure out our .75 oz Vodka and add it to our pourable container. Then, with our barspoon right against our glass, we will pour slowly over the top of the spoon so the vodka runs against the glass and layers over the top of the pineapple juice.

5) The final layer will be .75 oz of Bacardi 151. We will measure out our rum and add it to our pourable container. Now, with our barspoon right against the side of our pousse café or shot glass we will pour slowly over the top of spoon so the rum runs against the glass and layers over the top of the vodka. Bacardi 151 is the famous (or infamous if imbibed irresponsibly) overproof rum produced by Bacardi since 1981. Its name comes from its proof, 151. To say that this is a strong spirit is an understatement, that being said, Bacardi 151 does add flavor, plus its famous heat. It is often used in tropical Tiki style cocktails like the Hurricane and the Rum Runner and is also utilized in small doses for its pyrotechnic effect in cocktails and shooters like our AWOL here and the Flaming Dr. Pepper.

6) The final step will be to light it up and serve it. Couple rules here, first be sure to set it down securely on the bar. Second, I’d recommend utilizing a grill starter type lighter to ignite the shooter so we have a safe distance upon ignition, if not it will ignite with a match or standard lighter just be careful not to burn yourself as you will be close to the flame upon ignition. Third, after the shooter has been extinguished, allow time for the glass to cool before the guest consumes the AWOL shooter as the glass is more than likely still hot. Now, finally, down the hatch! This shooter is most definitely enjoyed best all in go.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the Joy Mixology by Gaz Regan for more on the AWOL and that snazzy liquor density chart too, also check out for info on all of Gaz’s books.



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