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Several TV chefs including, the late Julia Child, have advised against pouring liquor directly from the bottle to a pan to be ignited, as 'flames could travel up the stream and ignite the bottle' causing damage, injury or death.

Are there documented cases of this happening or is this simply "lawyering up"?

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Surely you could get burned without it actually exploding, and without the part in the bottle having to combust; a good flare-up could still hurt. –  Jefromi Feb 17 at 18:26
    
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1 Answer 1

Flame can travel up the stream, that is not news. There are many hospital admissions every year from people trying to add some meths (ethanol + methanol, "lighter fluid" in USA) direct from bottle to the BBQ to get it going properly

The problem occurs more often if the bottle has a wide opening, then you get easy flame transfer up the stream and into bottle. The expanding gases of the flame pushes out the rest of the fuel. Very ugly!

With a smaller bottle opening this effect is somewhat reduced (hence USA "lighter fluid" sold in squirt bottle), or using a "nip" pourer on a liquor bottle. But it is still a problem

Liquor is typically around 40% alcohol, so less violent, but still very hazardous. Do what chefs do, and pour out a measured amount into a small glass (they have to account for the cost too)

Dailymail - Family suffer horrific burns from flambe

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