The Real Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Light Absinthe On Fire

People have been drinking absinthe for centuries, but it wasn’t until the last few decades that people started to light it on fire.

The result is an attractive flame that can be mesmerizing if you’re not careful. The problem is, when you light absinthe on fire there are some serious risks involved.

These include things like a high risk of starting a fire or burning down your house, inhaling hazardous chemicals from the melting sugar cube in the process, and even getting alcohol poisoning if you drink too much while watching the show!

It may seem appealing at first glance to see something burst into flames – but in reality, this practice should be avoided at all costs.

What’s the Point of Lighting Absinthe on Fire, Anyway?

The point of this bizarre practice is to create an attractive flame. However, all that really happens is a bunch of unnecessary risks and absinthe that tastes like gnawing on an old cork coaster.

It may seem appealing at first glance to see something burst into flames – but in reality, this practice should be avoided at all costs.

The trend of lighting absinthe on fire didn’t really start appearing until the 1990s in areas like the Czech Republic. While it’s a far cry from the traditional, proper way to drink absinthe, it did add to the absinthe myth.

Next thing you know, the idea that you need to have a match or lighter handy to enjoy absinthe “authentically” was just something that people thought was correct. It was popping up in movies and clubs all over the world.

Example: Moulin Rouge! (2001 film)

Unfortunately, this practice didn’t add anything of real value to the absinthe experience. In fact, it takes away what makes the absinthe experience so unique in the first place!

Whether you’ve heard it as the “Czech Method”, “Bohemian Ritual”, or “Absinthe Fire Ritual”, a practice by any other name would still be garbage.

Ok, maybe I’m a little “fired up” right now, but nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than this!

Recommended: How to Properly Prepare Absinthe (Beginner Friendly Guide)

The Risks Involved in Lighting Absinthe on Fire

It may seem appealing at first glance to see something burst into flames – but in reality, this practice should be avoided at all costs.

First and foremost, lighting absinthe on fire is a very high-risk activity. It’s pretty much begging to burn down your house or spark a fire that could cause serious damage. This is especially true if you’ve already been drinking.

When you light absinthe on fire, the alcohol content in the drink quickly evaporates and the glass becomes very hot. The sugar that was added to the drink can then spontaneously combust into flames.

It is important to know that alcohol vapors are flammable and that the glass may cause serious injury when heated. This is not worth it for the payoff of seeing something burst into flames.

Even if you don’t end up setting your home on fire, this can lead to cracking or breaking your glass. Between the shards of glass and the fire, it’s not exactly unlikely that someone is going to get hurt.

Fire is mesmerizing and exciting, but let’s keep it away from the absinthe, shall we?

Why it’s Not Worth it to Light Absinthe on Fire

Even beyond the dangers that come with lighting absinthe on fire, there are other reasons why this practice needs to stop.

Absinthe is crafted with a delicate blend of herbs that give it its distinct flavor. When you light absinthe on fire, particularly vintage absinthe, all of the herbs are burned into a harsh smoke that ruins the taste for both the drinker and everyone around them.

Furthermore, by lighting it on fire you ruin its famous louche effect, which many people find appealing in its own right. Even if you don’t like drinking absinthe, it is worth it to avoid ruining the experience for everyone else who does.

So just wait and see what happens when the delicates swirls of the louche fill your glass when preparing absinthe properly instead of just lighting it on fire!


There is already over a century of misinformation out there about the Green Fairy and the age of the internet has made it even harder to combat. There’s no shortage of quack “experts” online uploading videos of themselves setting their absinthe on fire and claiming that “this is how to serve absinthe properly.”

Setting fire to your absinthe has never been a part of the authentic ritual and does nothing but ruin the drink while creating unnecessary safety risks. You should not light absinthe on fire.

Is this worth it for a cool show or are there better ways of getting an effect without risking ruining your drink and everyone else’s experience too? It turns out that not only is it dangerous, but by doing so you’re also taking away from some of the best aspects of drinking absinthe in the first place!

So just give it time to louche naturally before making any rash decisions about whether or not to set the Green Fairy ablaze.

Absinthe Fiend

Writer, absintheur, and cheeky devil. Don't let the name fool you! I'm actually very friendly (though a bit eccentric...)

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