You used to be able to be the boss of every social occasion with one go-to trick in your back pocket: opening a beer bottle with a lighter. That may have cut it for college parties, but you are now attending more sophisticated affairs. Ones where the guests have the finest of bottle openers elegantly attached to their key chains.
To stand out in a crowd, the time has come to customize your game, and we've got a few neat little talents that will definitely wow 'em. These might take a little bit of forethought or practice, so if you're incapable of neither, take your lighter and six-pack of fancy brew to the park gazebo and delight the neighborhood hobos poppin' tops.
#3. Play With Fire at a Birthday Dinner
Birthdays no longer mean inviting everyone you know out to the bar so that you'll have an endless pool of suckers to buy you drinks all night. No, we now sit our evolved derrieres down in chairs in our homes and sup among candles and cocktails, celebrating our dwindling years like adults.
Before we begin, note that by no means should this entry be a gateway to burning anything to the ground. These are slick tricks for the sober and cautious, and they should only be performed when Smokey the Bear's fire danger warning is firmly in the low to very low range. That said:
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"Matches for all!"
Not only is the Traveling Flame visually impressive, it also has some smarty-pants science going for it. The short story goes like this: If you have two candles and blow one out, you can immediately reignite ol' extinguished with the lit candle from a distance.
Once you're done acting like Party Guest of the Spirits, you can spill the science all over the enthralled group of onlookers, the one that most certainly surrounds you because you are a fire master.
That science? The smoke from the extinguished candle includes vaporized candle wax. If you move quickly, this can be used as fuel, sending the flame zipping back through the smoke to the wick and relighting the candle without touching it.
Advanced: Flaming Citrus Peel
This requires that you first learn one simple cocktail that would do nicely with a citrus garnish. Burnett's Strawberry Lemon Drop would be a fine choice.
But Cracked isn't bartending school.
Our focus here is the flaming citrus oil with which you will be dazzling your friends. If you squeeze the oil from a piece of orange or lemon peel over a flame that is over a cocktail glass, you will create an amazing spectacle and a more delicious drink.
The gentleman in this video goes with the Negroni, but don't succumb to YouTube peer pressure: Go with what feels right, as you are now the mighty Vulcan, Roman god of fire.
#2. Let It Rave After the Cookout
It's likely that some of your compatriots are now dwelling outside of basements. In fact, a number of these people may even have homes with yards and grills and crushing, crushing mortgages.
If one of them invites you to a cookout, don't arrive hungry and empty-handed. Be the guy who brings the whimsy after the sun goes down.
Not to get all Pinter-douchey, but you really can whip up assloads of enchantment with glow sticks and a black light. Yes, it does require that you show up to a party with glow sticks and a black light, but as long as you don't start waving them around in people's faces until you're ready to do your thing, everything should be OK and fists should remain unsheathed.
"You're fine for now, but the minute I hear a bass drop, I start throwing punches."
All kinds of moms on the Internet are cutting open glow sticks and pouring them into things to distract their kids so they'll shut up for several precious minutes and let mommy think. We're going to go ahead and say that cutting open glow sticks is OK and won't turn you into Citizen Toxie. Mommy bloggers wouldn't steer us wrong.
The lady in this instructional video will give you the lowdown on a number of ways to make glow-in-the-dark bubbles, the easiest of which is pouring glow stick juice into soap, although she does so as if your clinically depressed chemistry teacher was helping plan a Skrillex event.
Why not just buy some glow bubbles, you ask? Is this not an item available for sale to the retail public? Well, yes, but see all those glow sticks you still have left over after bubble making? Use those guys to light from below a bowl of chilled Burnett's bottles you have brought along and to organize a makeshift glow-in-the-dark bowling game.
Bonus: In the dark, no one can see that weird granny roll you use.
Word of warning: Don't let the Internet lie to you. You cannot produce your own bottle of glow gunk with a concoction of Mountain Dew, baking soda, and peroxide. Nope. Doesn't work. The, uh, Internet says so.
Advanced: Glow-in-the-Dark Food and Drinks
Quinine is the secret ingredient to making food and drinkstuffs glow. This ingredient is conveniently found in tonic water. Also, it is used to treat malaria. So in your face, disease-riddled mosquitoes!
Most how-to instructions out there all revolve around Halloween. These are from people with no vision. Party treats should look radioactive on whatever occasion one deems appropriate, like a cookout to celebrate International Day Against Nuclear Tests in August.
You need a black light to activate the quinine glow effect, but you can get one of those on a key chain. Hook that sucker right next to your bottle opener key chain and you are in business, friend. Lighter be damned!