A Tropical Eruption

By Jaclyn Warren | Amelia Schwartz


Jaclyn Warren
Amelia Schwartz
Josef Dietrich creating the Tropical Volcano
Josef Dietrich creating the Tropical Volcano

He decorates glasses with edible paint, he garnishes with sippable tattoos, he uses liquid nitrogen with abandon, he employs smoke and hot pokers, he wields a chain saw and flamethrower, and he will stop at nothing to add to the customer experience. At Bellevue speakeasy Civility & Unrest, Josef Dietrich pours on the hospitality and magicianship. A self-proclaimed “dramatic person,” he crafts cocktails with drama to give his high-spending guests a bang for their buck. At Dietrich’s well, no tropical cocktail is ever just a sweet rum punch. Behold: The Tropical Volcano. 

The Drink
Dietrich begins this cocktail for two with a bright, acidic base: 3 ounces Casamigos blanco tequila, 1¼ ounces passionfruit purée, and ¾ ounce lemon juice. He adds ¾ ounce of unctuous banana liqueur, then enhances the agave with two hits of cinnamon bitters. He finishes with 2 ounces of water…. Wait! We’re not done here. 

The Set-Up 

The mixture gets poured into a fireproof kettle, similar to a Turkish ibrik, and Dietrich preps a Nick and Nora Glass with a single ice cube. Here’s where things get interesting—he also preps a liquid nitrogen vessel, usually opting for a tin shaker.

The Fire 

Dietrich takes out a blowtorch. He gently applies it to the kettle until the mixture boils. He ignites the cocktail, shooting it aflame. The passionfruit and lemon  caramelizes, developing a much richer, darker flavor profile. Hold your ooo’s and aahh’s, we’re not done yet. 

The Explosion 

The flaming cocktail is poured into the liquid nitrogen container, releasing an enormous cloud of nitrogen gas. The tropical smoke pours into guests’ lap, carrying its summery scent. Dietrich stirs the cocktail until the nitrogen has fully evaporated, then pours it into the Nick and Nora glass. Seattle may be cloudy, but Dietrich knows how to clear the sky and bring out the sun. 


Share on: