*The famous Witch, Nanny Ogg, it is said, did not DO housework, but she was often THE CAUSE of housework in other people. (And, Goddess, do I aspire to similar status!) Likewise, I am not very good at making cocktails, but I am, as often as possible, the cause of making cocktails in other people. I am fortunate to have family and friends who excel at this practice.
On that note, if you, too, appreciate the civilization inherent in a well-made mint julep or a carefully-shaken martini, then you should really, really follow Amy Stewart, @Amy_Stewart, aka The Drunken Botanist. Amy is, indeed, a botanist, having written the wonderful Wicked Plants (a must-have for every Witch’s library), not to mention Flower Confidential, The Earth Moved (the best book you’ve never read about earthworms), and From the Ground Up. Landscape Guy and I went to hear her speak about her recent book, Wicked Bugs, at the U.S. Botanical Gardens and she’s brilliant, funny, athame-sharp, and as human as all-get-out.
Lately, in preparation for her new book, entitled, not too surprisingly, The Drunken Botanist, Amy’s been tweeting lots of amazing recipes for summer cocktails that use ingredients such as pineapple sage (which I gave up growing because I couldn’t find anything to DO with it!) and beet bloody mary mix. But I think that my favorite recipe of hers (so easy that even I could do it) is this one, for, as opposed to a cordial, a consolation:
Peach and Bourbon Consolation
2 oz bourbon
2 tbsp sugar
Optional: orange or peach bitters, Luxardo cherries
Mix equal parts sugar and water in a heatproof glass. Nuke it for just under a minute, until the sugar melts. In a tumbler, muddle bourbon with a couple slices of peach. Strain but do not discard the peach remnants; that is a lost opportunity. Just slurp them down while standing over the sink. Don’t worry, nobody’s looking.
Now add to the tumbler a little of the the still-hot simple syrup to taste (or just a little hot water), plus a few drops of bitters if you have them. Stir well. Garnish with another slice of peach. Or just eat the peach. Add a Luxardo cherry if you want to, or–hell, it’s your Consolation, so add whatever you want. You could drop a chocolate chip cookie in there and I wouldn’t tell anybody.
Drink it while it’s slightly warm and lovely. If you sneak back to the kitchen and add a little more bourbon later on, I won’t tell anybody about that, either.
What’s your poison?
*DiL tried to tell me, years ago, how good this book was, but I’ve never been able to get past the 1st couple of chapters. However, the movie looks so good that I’m going to go back and give the book another try.
Earth is crammed w/ heaven and it’s all so much more glorious and mysterious than we spend much time acknowledging.
*This could either be fun or terrible, but it tickles me how The Green Man continues to just crop up (and how homemade spells keep showing up in American culture):
*A sunken garden. Poetry. Summer. What else could you want? (OK, except for a comfy quilt, a Summer cocktail, and maybe some of that serious Southern specialty, cheese straws). And thou, beside me in the wilderness, ah!
A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra
~ Richard Wilbur
for Dore and Adja
Under the bronze crown
Too big for the head of the stone cherub whose feet
A serpent has begun to eat,
Sweet water brims a cockle and braids down
Past spattered mosses, breaks
On the tipped edge of a second shell, and fills
The massive third below. It spills
In threads then from the scalloped rim, and makes
A scrim or summery tent
For a faun-ménage and their familiar goose.
Happy in all that ragged, loose
Collapse of water, its effortless descent
And flatteries of spray,
The stocky god upholds the shell with ease,
Watching, about his shaggy knees,
The goatish innocence of his babes at play;
His fauness all the while
Leans forward, slightly, into a clambering mesh
Of water-lights, her sparkling flesh
In a saecular ecstasy, her blinded smile
Bent on the sand floor
Of the trefoil pool, where ripple-shadows come
And go in swift reticulum,
More addling to the eye than wine, and more
Interminable to thought
Than pleasure’s calculus. Yet since this all
Is pleasure, flash, and waterfall,
Must it not be too simple? Are we not
More intricately expressed
In the plain fountains that Maderna set
Before St. Peter’s—the main jet
Struggling aloft until it seems at rest
In the act of rising, until
The very wish of water is reversed,
That heaviness borne up to burst
In a clear, high, cavorting head, to fill
With blaze, and then in gauze
Delays, in a gnatlike shimmering, in a fine
Illumined version of itself, decline,
And patter on the stones its own applause?
If that is what men are
Or should be, if those water-saints display
The pattern of our aretê,
What of these showered fauns in their bizarre,
Spangled, and plunging house?
They are at rest in fulness of desire
For what is given, they do not tire
Of the smart of the sun, the pleasant water-douse
And riddled pool below,
Reproving our disgust and our ennui
With humble insatiety.
Francis, perhaps, who lay in sister snow
Before the wealthy gate
Freezing and praising, might have seen in this
No trifle, but a shade of bliss—
That land of tolerable flowers, that state
As near and far as grass
Where eyes become the sunlight, and the hand
Is worthy of water: the dreamt land
Toward which all hungers leap, all pleasures pass.
Photo by the author; if you copy, please link back.