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Is Vodka Flammable & Will It Catch Fire? (2024 Updated)

Is Vodka Flammable & Will It Catch Fire

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Lydia Martin

It is common to drink chilled vodka with ice, but a flaming shot isn’t as common. In the past, the authority collected taxes by burning spirits like whiskey to determine their alcohol concentration. But nowadays, the practice of igniting alcoholic drinks goes down to entertainment and flair shows.

Is vodka flammable even if it is a neutral spirit composed of just ethanol and water?

Is Vodka Really Flammable?

Vodka Fire Shots

Yes, vodka is flammable along with other spirits as they all contain ethanol. Ethanol is a colorless and flammable liquid with a burning taste produced after fermentation. With a flashpoint of 13°C (55°F), ethanol produces enough vapor to ignite at room temperature when exposed to open flame.

Fortunately, alcoholic beverages like vodka also contain water, making the flashpoint higher than room temperature. It means that storing a bottle of vodka at home is safe if away from a naked flame. But a glass of 80 proof alcohol can still be lit on fire if exposed, though the blue flame won’t last for very long.

What Can Make It Non-flammable?

A bottle of vodka with low alcohol proof and away from open flame makes it non-flammable. Vodkas with lower alcohol by volume content can not sustain flames for a long time because they have more water.

Putting a lit match in a shot of vodka will quickly extinguish the flame. But using a long lighter will heat the surface first, making alcohol produce enough vapor to start a bright fire. The light can last according to the alcohol concentration of the beverage, as it is what makes vodkas flammable.

Vodka Proof Considered Flammable

Smirnoff Vodka

A vodka of 100 proof and above is considered flammable. With this alcohol concentration of the drink, one may wonder, “Is vodka flammable?” Most vodkas can catch fire easily, but they are not extremely flammable as the water content will extinguish the blue flame in a few seconds after burning the alcohol.

Of course, that question goes out the windows regarding Spirytus Vodka. With 96% ABV or 192 proof, it is the most highly flammable vodka among other alcohols. Its high alcohol concentration makes it a hand-sanitizer alternative in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic [1]. But does vodka evaporate?

Can You Light a Shot of Vodka on Fire?

Yes, you can light a shot of vodka on fire, but we do not recommend doing it at home or without proper training. Although most vodkas are not highly flammable, certain materials in the house can catch fire easily.

It is exciting to see flaming drinks in cocktail bars, but skilled and professional flair bartenders do them for guest entertainment. They light up cocktails while ensuring the perfect mix of the drinks with more ease because of their years of training. But how many shots of vodka can get you drunk?

What is Flaming Vodka?

Flaming Vodka Shot

A flaming vodka is a cocktail drink consisting of layered beverages and topped with a bright blue flame. One glass of 80 proof vodka alone can catch fire following some room environmental conditions, but it will only burn for a few seconds.

Even with a flammable 100 proof vodka, the fire will consume the ethanol in just a few minutes. For that reason, bartenders and mixologists added a higher-proof alcoholic drink like rum to keep the fire burning longer in flaming cocktails.

Is It Safe To Drink Flaming Vodka?

No, drinking a flaming drink like vodka is not safe, and it can cause irreversible damage if done wrong. It is not entirely impossible as people with years of experience and skills combined can drink flaming cocktails, but they also exercise extreme precaution.

Although it may not give a consistent flame, drinking a shot of flaming cocktails can burn your mouth and hair. The flames will also cause the glass to become extremely hot that it can burn your hand. Be careful to use a straw as it can catch fire if exposed to flaming cocktails for more than a few seconds.

Read: How Long Will It Take For Vodka To Kick In?

Vodka Brands & Their Chance of Flammability

Vodka Brands & Their Chance of Flammability

Grey Goose

Almost all Grey Goose vodkas have an alcohol content of 80 proof, making them flammable but not enough to keep a consistent fire. Grey Goose created their flavored line by combining unflavored vodka with botanical ingredients, creating refreshing drinks with toned-down alcohol concentration. These flavored drinks are harder to light on fire at 30% ABV or 60 proof.

Absolut

Absolut

In 2007, the company released the Absolut 100 Vodka, a rich-flavored premium alcoholic drink that mixes well with tonic water and juice. The 50% ABV of this vodka makes it a highly flammable beverage.

Absolut vodka also has 80 proof in most of their products, including the flavored varieties of Lime, Citron, and Grapefruit. The rest of their flavored range has a slightly lower alcohol content at 38% ABV. 

Smirnoff Vodka 

Smirnoff vodka also has varieties, with alcohol by volume ranging from 30% to 50%. Like Absolut 100 Vodka, Smirnoff 100 is a clear and strong spirit that mixes best in a classic martini or the infamous Moscow Mule. It is flammable enough to entertain guests of a large party and create flaming drinks.

Read: Who Makes Kirkland Vodka?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to make flaming vodka at home?

No, it is not safe to make flaming vodkas at home. It is dangerous as curtains or hair can catch fire if you don’t have proper training. However, it has little to no risk for bars, as there are professionals there who follow fire safety protocols.

Does lighting vodka burn off the alcohol?

Yes, lighting vodka will burn off the alcohol. It is not the liquid that burns but the vapor produced by ethanol as the fire heats up the drink [2]. A higher proof of alcohol equates to more vapor, creating a steadier fire than those with lower alcohol concentration.

Why is vodka flammable?

Vodka is flammable because of its high alcohol content. The flammability of alcohol is determined by its proof, which is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV). Vodka typically has a high ABV, often ranging from 40% to 50% or more.

When alcohol is ignited, it burns with a blue flame due to the presence of ethanol. The flammability of vodka makes it important to handle it with care and avoid exposing it to open flames.

What alcohol is flammable?

Most alcoholic beverages are flammable to some extent due to the presence of ethanol, which is a highly flammable substance.

The flammability of alcohol is influenced by its ABV. Spirits with higher alcohol content, such as whiskey, rum, and certain liqueurs, are more flammable than beverages with lower alcohol content, like beer or wine.

Generally, the higher the proof or ABV, the more flammable the alcohol.

Is Gin flammable?

Yes, gin is flammable. Like other spirits, gin contains a significant amount of alcohol, usually ranging from 37.5% to 50% ABV.

This high alcohol content makes gin flammable. If ignited, it will produce a blue flame characteristic of burning ethanol.

Is beer flammable?

Beer is not as flammable as distilled spirits like vodka, gin, or whiskey. Beer has a relatively low alcohol content, typically ranging from 4% to 6% ABV. The lower alcohol concentration in beer makes it less prone to catching fire compared to higher-proof spirits.

While it may not be considered flammable in practical terms, it is essential to exercise caution around open flames and alcoholic beverages.

Is alcohol easily flammable?

Alcohol, specifically ethanol, is indeed easily flammable. The flammability of alcohol is influenced by its ABV or proof, with higher concentrations being more prone to combustion. While beer and wine have lower alcohol content and are less likely to catch fire easily, spirits with higher ABV, such as vodka, gin, and whiskey, are more readily flammable. It is crucial to handle all alcoholic beverages responsibly and avoid exposing them to open flames to prevent accidents and ensure safety.

What makes alcohol so flammable?

The flammability of alcohol, specifically ethanol, is attributed to its chemical properties. Ethanol is a highly flammable and volatile organic compound.

When exposed to an open flame or heat source, the vapors of ethanol can easily ignite, producing a blue flame.

The combustion of ethanol releases energy in the form of heat and light, making it flammable.

What alcohol is not flammable?

Alcohol, in the context of alcoholic beverages, generally refers to ethanol. Ethanol is flammable, and all alcoholic drinks contain varying amounts of ethanol. Therefore, it’s accurate to say that all alcoholic beverages are flammable to some extent.

However, beverages with lower alcohol content, such as beer or wine, have a lower risk of catching fire compared to high-proof spirits like vodka or whiskey.

Is alcohol 70% flammable?

Yes, alcohol at 70% concentration, often referred to as rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, is flammable. While it contains water, the high percentage of alcohol content makes it easily flammable.

The water content can actually make the combustion slightly more controlled compared to higher concentrations of alcohol, but it is still essential to exercise caution when handling and storing it.

What is the most flammable liquid?

There are several highly flammable liquids, and the flammability of a substance depends on various factors, including its chemical composition. Some extremely flammable liquids include hydrogen, acetylene, gasoline, and diethyl ether.

Each of these substances has properties that make them highly combustible and potentially dangerous when exposed to ignition sources.

What vodkas are flammable?

Virtually all vodkas are flammable, as they contain a high percentage of alcohol. The flammability is influenced by the vodka’s proof or alcohol by volume (ABV). Popular vodka brands with higher ABV, often exceeding 40%, are more likely to be flammable. However, it’s important to note that the flammability of vodka is a safety concern, and intentionally igniting alcoholic beverages is not recommended.

Why does vodka burn blue?

When vodka or any high-proof spirit burns, the flame often appears blue. This blue flame is characteristic of the combustion of ethanol, the main alcohol in vodka. The blue color is associated with the efficient and complete burning of ethanol vapors, which emit light in the blue spectrum during combustion.

The presence of impurities or additives in some alcoholic beverages can also affect the color of the flame, but the blue hue is a common feature when burning pure ethanol.

So, Is Vodka Flammable?

Most bottles of vodka available today have 80 proof, enough to ignite a small flame within certain conditions. We recommend using a long lighter or specialized blowtorch instead of a match. These tools help by heating the drink and creating the vapor to set off the blue flames.

But again, practicing this at home without proper training and guidance is not recommended. There is a risk of things catching fire around the house, so it’s better to leave the exciting sight of flaming vodkas in bars done by professionals.

References:

  1. Coronavirus Makes Polish Liquor Fly Off the Shelves as Hand Sanitizer

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