Have a drink by Butzi

(Butzi is a inventive French magician that Jeff McBride often works with. Butzi is a frequent contributor to the Secret Art Journal.)

This routine was created for a show called “Coffee Show” I created it for coffee specialists. Later, I applied the same principles and made it accessible for everyone in a show called “Refreshing”.

Effect: The participant is asked to choose one type of drink among a couple of empty, flat, paper bags displayed on the table. The names of different drinks are written on the bags. Once the drink is chosen, the magician reveals the prediction hidden in every one of the paper bags and it matches the participant’s choice. He then reveals that the chosen bag now contains the selected drink, hot or cold and gives it to the spectator.

Overall Explanation:
You force a bag behind which there is a secret slit and load the glass behind the bag. This gives the impression that you can make any drink appear that the participant desires. In essence, I linked the magician;s choice principle and a couple of paper bag routines principles to produce the effect.

There are two climaxes in this routine and some of you might not like the idea of mixing “mental” and “magic” elements. In this case, the revelation of a prediction (mental) is followed by a production (magic). For me, the twist with other similar routines is precisely those two different types of climaxes.

The prediction allows relaxation at the climax, and provides a build up to the next climax, which is a great opportunity to load the bag with quite a big object. When you actually materialize the choice, it adds up to the first effect and gets a stronger climax.


Step by Step Explanations

A) Prepare your cup/ glass: David Stone recommends putting a WASHED condom on top of a glass so you don’t spill anything when it’s full of liquid. When producing it, secretly remove the condom to show the glass full of liquid.

Did you laugh when you read “WASHED”, in capital letters? Well, believe me, the lubricant can kill your effect for two reasons. First, we can smell and feel the lubricant on top of the glass when we drink.

Second, the need exists to take extra care of the condom when washing it; otherwise, it might not stay on top of the glass or cup and just slip away, resulting in a catastrophe because you might have hot liquid upside down and a condom on the floor! So, unroll the condom completely, wash it in your sink with soap on both sides, twice, dry it with a towel or tissue paper to remove the extra lubricant and roll it back. Have a couple of them ready because when the condom is very, dry it can break.

Just before the show, put the condom on top of your glass and push with the thumb in the middle to remove the air inside. Now the liquid is trapped inside the glass.

The type and size of the glass or cup matters. On the pictures above, I’ve taken the biggest glass possible so you can see the limit. I think it’s even too big. Don’t use classic coffee cups as seen on the right, because the handle will get caught in the envelope slit.
If you want to make coffee appear, take a cup that has the shape of a straight glass like the cups they have at Ikea.

Be careful! If your cup is even slightly cone shaped, the condom will unroll itself completely and automatically around it!

The best glasses are this kind: straight, middle sized ones.
B) The bags / envelopes. In the original routine, I had paper coffee bags with different sorts of coffee; later on, I bought envelopes and wrote all kind of refreshing drinks on them for a show in the summer. I then folded the envelopes in half so the magician’s choice could be like a fun, casual game and the envelopes would be seen flat and empty all the time. In this photo, you can see the envelopes in the “Refreshing” show along with the prediction. Choose a bag size that is not too big; for example, a big grocery bag won’t be that impressive!

How to build the tricked envelope
⦁ Cut a slit with a box cutter or X Acto Knife. Put something underneath to avoid cutting your table. Experiment sliding the glass through the hole to see if it fits.

Does the glass fit? Your final production should
look like that

Recover the edges with tape so the hole doesn’t get bigger and eventually rip.

Refold the tape behind Take extra care of the sides

If the tricked / forced paper bag says “orange juice”, insert a paper on which we can read: “you’ll pick the orange juice” for the gag/ pre-climax later on.

Put it inside at this place of the envelope
On each of the other paper bags, insert papers on which we can read: “You’ll choose orange juice”.

B) The loading technique

For the load, you have many solutions, but I would recommend three.

⦁ You are seated. After you reveal that you predicted the drink, you reach the first climax and have time to steal the glass from under your chair or under the table and hide it behind the bag in a body swing motion. You can pretend to put something back in your bag and take the glass on the way back (like a lighter or a prop that was on the table for example).

⦁ You could stand up wearing a jacket. Use splash bottle 2.0, the gimmick David Stone commercialized, invented by Damien Vappereau and Jean Mark! http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S17747 It’s very good and any jacket would cover it.

⦁ If you are standing up and want to perform without a jacket like I did for the show “Refreshing”, put the cup half way in your pants and wear your shirt over it.

How To Make Conserve Hot Coffee When It’s Cold / A Cold Drink When It’s Hot

Trust me, it really adds to the effect if you make hot coffee appear when it’s like 5 degree Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) outside or produce an ice cold orange juice when it’s 30 degrees (86 degrees) in the room! So conserve your liquids properly:

First, you need to time your liquid preparations so they don’t have time to become room temperature. Test the routine fully performed before your show in front of a camera and then in front of friends, so you know how to transport this illusion.

Just before leaving for the show, prepare you drink, say coffee. The condoms are washed, dried and ready to be put on top of the glass although bring a few extras in case one breaks or is not well rolled up. Now, pour the liquid in a little thermos, and bring the paper bags, extra condoms and the cup with you. A few moments before starting the show, pour some coffee (or any other liquid) in the cup and put the condom on top of the glass.
For cold liquids I use a thermos and transport a little bottle of the liquid that I will force with lots of ice around it.

The Routine

“Hey why should I drink something and you don’t have anything? You know what? Once I went for a drink with friends and I didn’t know what to order, so the waiter did something very interesting to help me decide; he eliminated choices to see what was left at the end, what I wanted “deep down”. I’ll show you what I mean. I brought envelopes with names of drinks written on it. And when I show you two drinks, you tell me which one we get rid of. Yes?”

Performance notes: Do a classic magician’s choice until you have two left, showing two envelopes and asking him to eliminate one each time. Perform this in a casual, teasing mood! If you perform with specific products like I did with coffee specialists, I highly recommend you know a bit about the products you are using so you can handle an actual conversation. For example, “This one has more bitterness, good choice! If you had taken the one from Kenya I would have said “Hello strong man!”

Now that you have two left, say in a light manner, “Instinctively, take one of those bags.”

a) If he takes the right one, say: “You know what? I knew you would take this one” INSTINCT ladies and gentlemen!” And I continue onto the first climax. I DON’T ask him if he is sure or if that’s the one he wants.

b) If he takes the other one, just show the one you have in your hand to everyone, and say: “Wonderful, INSTINCT ladies and gentlemen! And we are left with one bag” as I continue onto the climax.

First Climax:

Let’s say you are left with the correct envelope, the “orange juice” one. You say: “I knew this would happened and I made a prediction.” [Take prediction out from the “orange juice bag” with lots of suspense. It reads “You will choose orange juice!”]. Of course the audience is apt to react claiming, “Hey, wait a minute. This is a scam; maybe in the other envelope says the same thing!” I laugh and say: “Ha ha, you are right. I misled you. You know why? Because I can. No seriously, you are not impressed because you haven’t seen the other envelopes. Yet”.

When they do, each one of them contains a piece of paper which says, “You’ll choose orange juice” and I say “What does it says?” Preparing the load by putting my thumb on the glass in a specific posture: see below.
“What does it says?” + Slide the thumb under your shirt
You need a high chair or bar to lean on


“Haaaa!!! I knew it!! haha” + Go up first, then down+ body swing motion

Second Climax:

While they are experiencing the magic and being astonished by looking at the prediction as the person reads it aloud, I have plenty of misdirection to load the cup behind the tricked paper bag/ envelope, and put it further away from my body while in a relaxed up and down motion detailed on the picture.

The glass is behind as I’m looking at the Hidden view: hold it with index and thumb
I let the audience absorb the climax of the first effect and then say
“Wait a minute…I said you have chosen orange juice…but don’t you want to drink it?“and I pull out the orange juice out of the bag. When you do so, make it go through the slit and as you can reach the glass through the slit from the top, leaving the condom in the bag.

This is how it happened in my summer show


Tip on customized show: If you go for a specific product like Ethiopian coffee, for example, find the most important person in the room (the one hiring or paying you or a high position executive) to “attest” / “recognize” the product. When he said “yes it’s Sidamo’s province Ethiopian coffee, I recognize it,” he will give you a wonderful starry-eyed smile. Allow three seconds for them to look at his reaction and then give an audio applause cue (like a quick clap in your hand or on the table) to redirect the energy of your audience to you and not leave them to stare at their boss / leader.



This routine is very adaptable and you could go for something else than different types of coffee –especially if you don’t perform this for coffee specialist!

There are three take-away principles.
⦁ Give the impression that you can make appear something that a participant desires by linking the magician choice principle and an impossible production routine you like.
⦁ Take the advantage by creating relaxation with second climax. It doesn’t matter if they are different from each other. You don’t have to choose between mentalist and magician, you can be both, wizard Gandalf style.
⦁ Spot the important person in the audience for specific routines in the show you create, especially for corporate events. He likes to be on the spotlight in a subtle way. In this case, he will “attest”, because he is the boss. You are sharing some of your power with him

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