A Chicago woman in town for a bachelorette night in May wound up spending much of her time in an emergency room after a flaming rum and whiskey drink set her face and upper torso on fire at Crave Mad for Chicken on Kneeland Street, police, her attorney and the restaurant's owner told the Boston Licensing Board today.
The board will decide Thursday what action, if any, to take. In addition to considering BPD and BFD citations for unsafe service of alcohol and having an open flame without a permit, the board will also decide whether the various liquors used in the drink were valid under the restaurant's liqueurs license or whether they were actually hard liquor, for which it has no permit.
According to testimony at a hearing this morning, around 10 p.m. on May 20, the woman and her friends ordered what owner Cassidy Lu called the restaurant's "interpretation of a scorpion bowl" - a large bowl filled with a mixture of pineapple juice, citrus rum and Blue Curacao, topped with four glasses into which a whiskey-based liqueur was poured and then lit.
Lu, who said she has served the drink numerous times before with no side effects, said that when she lit the whiskey, the flames leaped to the woman's face and chest. The woman immediately rolled onto the floor, put out the flames and ran into the bathroom for water, Lu said, adding she followed the woman in to help her - and when she realized she'd been burned, to call 911.
Lu said the woman appeared to have "a really bad sunburn," that her eyelashes and hair weren't even singed. The woman's attorney, however, said the burns were more serious than that - she's still undergoing treatment, he said.
A once clear line between hard liquor and liqueurs started blurring a few years ago when alcohol companies began adding flavorings to hard liquor, which they say mutates them into liqueurs that restaurants such as Crave Mad for Chicken can serve. Lu said all of the products she used in the drink are on a state approved list of liqueurs, but board members asked her to provide both a purchase list of the liquids so that they can judge for themselves.