Ring of Fire


August 2, 2010 (Day 184) — Ring of Fire

“I fell into a burning ring of fire/I went down, down, down/And the flames went higher/And it burns, burns, burns/The ring of fire.” — Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire”

It’s 105 outside my window right now. It’s a brutal, heavy, hateful heat. Dry, withering, ball-shirvelingly hot. There hits a certain point in a western Kansas summer, when the dusty winds seem to have sapped all the color from the sky. And that wind. God, that wind.

It’s an ungodly heat, that settles over the entire landscape like a piss-soaked blanket. Anyone who’s spent the summer in Dodge City can attest to the smell. It’s not a bit of hyperbole.

And yet, the sunsets are still unbelievably beautiful. On the rare occasion when the wind is from the north and away from the feedlots, and the clouds catch fire, it’s a little slice of paradise. Hot. Dry. Paradise.

So why, in this awful heat, would I subject myself to a cocktail called a Ring of Fire? Why would I submit myself to a brutal drink that doesn’t use any ice, contains rum, a red hot cinnamon liquor and Tabasco sauce? I guess, deep down, I’m a masochist. It’s the same reason my wife feels the needs to eat jalapeno poppers in the summertime. There are just some things that have to be done. You need to feel that burn on your lips, and that bit in your throat. Spiciness in the summertime just seems to go together; for those of us who like to put our bodies through hell at any rate. And, in keeping with the somewhat western theme (Dodge City Days Day 4), whiskey and Tabasco seemed to make sense.

And between you and me… I honestly sometimes think I’m just a little bit stupid. Stupid, stupid sense.

So, nervously and with great trepidation, I approach the…

Ring of Fire

1.5 oz oz rum

1.5 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

4 – 5 drops Tabasco sauce

Build in a rocks glass. No ice. Drink that bitch.

Did I say I was stupid? Stupid like a fox! Truth be told, I made this drink because it sounded bizarre. I mean, I didn’t really expect to like it. That is a pleasantly tasty — if not intense drink. As anyone who has drank warm liquor can tell you, that stuff usually has a bite enough as it is. Now imagine two different liquors, warm, bolstered with six dashes of Tabasco sauce. It is one hell of a kick. And I love every minute of it. Now, this is originally meant as a shooter (which it is one hell of a shooter), but I almost liked it more as a sipping drink.

Why? It’s one hell of an endurance test to drink this. I don’t mean it in an unpleasant way either. It’s a challenge though. It’s pretty well-balanced drink. The sweet of the rum and cinnamon whiskey offset that heat of the Tabasco. But, it’s still a kick of Tabasco, and no ice to cool it down. So, every time you take a drink, it flares back up. The nice thing about it though — and perhaps a disadvantage if you think too long about it — is that the heat barely lasts five or six seconds. So, by the time it dissipates, it’s gone without a trace.

And you head back in for another one.

Cheers!

— Mark

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