A History Lesson With Booze ®

History Sparks and the Strike

Learn about the accidental invention of the friction match, and then light up your night with a brilliant cocktails.

Burning row of matches isolated black

This week back in 1827, a chemist based in Stockton-on-Tees, England, made a striking discovery. Learn about John Walker’s accidental invention of the friction match, and then light up your night with these brilliant matchstick cocktails.

The Strike

The strike cocktail. Photo credit: Allan McPhail
Photo credit: Allan McPhail

Invented by Allan McPhail, acting manager at The Vane Arms Pub and Restaurant in Stockton-on-Tees, UK.

In a Collins glass or tall shot glass (depending on your tolerance), combine equal parts of the following to create the body of the match:

  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Kahlua
  • brandy
  • double cream (or dilute to taste)

Then whisk:

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1/2 part Grenadine


Spoon this frothy mix atop the drink, creating the match head. If you’re feeling lucky, add sparklers for effect. (“Please be aware of burning hazards of sparklers,” says Allan.)