Arizona's Espiritu Restaurant And Bar Will Light Any Cocktail On Fire

From espresso martinis to negroni spagliatos with prosecco, in this day and age, there's no shortage of trendy alcoholic beverages for you to choose from. In fact, the internet seems to spew up viral concoctions so often that bartenders can have a hard time keeping up. At the same time, restaurants and bars are struggling to develop cocktail menus that compete with the same sort of collective excitement. That is every restaurant except Mesa, Arizona's Espiritu. But how did it make a name for itself in this world of viral cocktails it's found itself in? Espiritu did it the old-fashioned way — by lighting stuff on fire.

Flaming cocktails are by no means a new idea. In fact, legendary cocktails like The Blue Blazer and Café Brûlot have been burning bright since the 1800s. What's cool about the cocktails at Espiritu, however, is that, for $20, you actually have the option to light a fire on top of any of the drinks on their menu. The point? Well, functionally, setting spirits aflame caramelizes the sugars and burns off a bit of the alcohol to create a smoother drink with warmer, more nuanced notes. But mostly, it just looks cool — and if there's anything that will get that old fling of yours to swipe up on your Instagram story, it's posting a fiery cocktail.

Espiritu in Mesa, Arizona

Named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Eater in 2022, Espiritu hosts a food menu that's considered to showcase some of America's finest Sonoran cooking. With everything from seasonal ceviche to an Arizona long rib, Espiritu's menu is rooted in Chef Roberto Centeno's Mexican pride — as well as his affinity for live-fire cooking. The cocktail menu, on the other hand, appears to be an extension of that. Not only is it centered around Agave-based liquors and harder-to-find Mexican spirits, but it also offers guests the option to light any drink of their liking into a blaze.

Espiritu isn't just a bar with great food — it's a restaurant. But its cocktail menu is what steals the show. With ingredients like charred pineapple, tomatillo salsa, Jarritos, chiltepin-infused bacanora, coconut oil fat-washed mezcal, and rare Mexican spirits lining the descriptions, guests are invited to choose from a list of craft cocktails that are hand-shaken and/or stirred. Customization is also encouraged, with messages inviting customers to create their own drinks or challenge the bartenders to build one based off of their preferences — including the option to set it aflame.

While, for $20, all of Espiritu's cocktails are fit for fire, some may benefit more from it than others. The Agua Chill Eh, which includes tomatillo salsa and fire tincture, is one of them, as well as La Mordida, La Muerte, and the Lichi Lychee Lee-Chee, which all contain warm, smoky notes that the fire enhances.