Friday, June 19, 2015

Drinking with the Saints : Some Excerpts from Dr Michael Foley’s New Book

Peter Kwasniewski just published a review here on NLM of Dr Michael Foley’s new book Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour (Regnery, 2015). Prof. Foley was kind enough to share some excerpts with us.

Cocktails Named After the Saints
By Michael P. Foley
Thanks be to God, only the occasional cocktail has a salacious name that is an embarrassment to utter in front of a blind date or your parish priest. Most cocktail monikers are innocuous, and some are even “hagionomic,” that is, derived from the names of Catholic Saints. Granted, most of these hagionyms are actually “hagiotoponyms,” inspired not the Saint himself, but by a place bearing a his name, like San Diego in California or St. Cloud in Minnesota. (And yes, there will be a quiz on these words later, but only after you have had a couple of rounds to make things interesting.) Like the householder in the Gospel who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old (Mt. 13:52), we turn to four venerable saintly cocktails, followed by four new creations invented for Drinking With the Saints: The Sinners’ Guide to a Holy Happy Hour.
San Francisco
The San Francisco Bay was named after St. Francis of Assisi by a Franciscan friar in 1595, but the adjacent settlement was first called Yerba Buena on account of the abundant mint that grew in the area. It was an American naval officer, Commodore John Sloat who, after capturing the city in 1846 during the Mexican-American War, renamed it for its mission, San Francisco de Asís de Dolores, St. Francis of Assisi of the Sorrows.

The San Francisco cocktail is a pleasant dessert drink that has a good balance of flavors and a brilliant vermillion hue. Its key ingredient is sloe gin, a sweet liqueur made from sloeberry or blackthorn plum.
¾ oz. sloe gin
¾ oz. dry vermouth
¾ oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 cherry for garnish (optional)
Pour ingredients into shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with cherry.

Saint Tropez
St. Tropez is a posh town on the French Riviera named after its most famous deceased inhabitant, Saint Torpes of Pisa (d. 65), an attendant of the Emperor Nero who was converted by St. Paul and subsequently decapitated. According to legend, his headless body was placed in a boat which drifted to the current location of the town.
There are a couple of different cocktails named after his final resting place; the one we include here uses red Dubonnet, a wine made especially for mixed drinks.
2 oz. Dubonnet
2 oz. orange or cranberry juice
Build in an old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and stir until cold.

Los Angeles
If you ever bet your soul that the City of the Angels is named after the Angels, you will find yourself among the demons. Los Angeles, California, was originally called The Pueblo of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Portiuncula and is therefore named after the Blessed Virgin Mary, not the celestial messengers.
The Los Angeles cocktail is as old-school as they come. Some drinks call for egg white, others egg yolk, but this one takes everything but the shell.
1½ oz. whiskey
¾ oz. lemon juice
1 small egg
1 dash sweet vermouth sugar to taste (we recommend ½ tsp. or more)
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Boston Club Cocktail
Is it possible that the Puritans’ shining city on a hill is named after a (gulp!) papist hero? It is indeed. St. Botolph was a wise and holy Benedictine abbot who was popular in medieval England: seventy churches and five towns and villages in that country (one of which, in Lincolnshire, was the original home of the Pilgrims) still bear his name. These municipal centers were named Botolphstown, a name that over time was contracted to “Botolphston,” then “Botoston,” and eventually “Boston.” There is a Botolph Street in downtown Boston that serves as a small reminder of this ancient connection.

The Boston Club Cocktail is a refreshing drink consisting of gin, fresh lime juice, and sweet vermouth.
1½ oz. gin
1 oz. lime juice
¼ oz. sweet vermouth
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.
The Great Basil
And now for some innovations in the world of liturgical mixology. We created the Great Basil in honor of St. Basil the Great, a fourth-century Greek Father and Doctor of the Church. Ingredients for this crisp summer drink include muddled basil and white Lillet wine, both in honor of the herbs and “vapid wine” that were a part of the abstemious saint’s daily diet.
1 lime wedge
1 tsp. simple syrup
3-6 fresh basil leaves
2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. gin basil sprig (for garnishing)
Squeeze lime into shaker. Add basil leaves and simple syrup, and muddle gently. Add ice, Lillet, and gin and shake vigorously at least forty times. Pour into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

The St. Damien
St. Damien de Veuster, SS.CC., better known as Damien of Molokai, was a heroic priest who served the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai until he himself succumbed to the disease. Our St. Damien cocktail is a sweet and tangy tropical drink that includes pineapple juice for the saint’s adopted home, lemon juice for the bitterness of leprosy, and grenadine made from pomegranate, a symbol of self-giving.
1 oz. gin
¾ oz. pineapple juice
¼ oz. grenadine
¼ oz. lemon juice
1 splash soda water (optional)
Pour all ingredients except soda water into a shake with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with a splash of soda water.

St. Michael’s Sword
According to an Irish legend, blackberries are bitter after Michaelmas (September 29) because it was on that day that Michael cast Lucifer out of Heaven, and that when he did, the Devil landed on a blackberry bush, spitting on it and cursing it. The St. Michael’s Sword is made from blackberry brandy and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon. The “Angels’ share” is the portion of the whiskey that escapes into the air during distillation, but the “Devil’s cut” is the portion that seeps into the wood of the barrels. Jim Beam claims to have stolen this cut back from the Devil, and so we gratefully offer this portion to St. Michael for a job well done.
1½ oz. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut bourbon
¾ oz. blackberry brandy
2 dashes orange bitters
1 cherry for garnish
Pour all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass. Use a cocktail spear (St. Michael’s sword) to transfix the cherry (the Devil, red with shame and rage).

Gregorian Royale
There is a charming yarn about Pope St. Gregory the Great and cherries. On St. Mark’s Day (April 25), the ascetical Pontiff was overwhelmed by a hankering for cherries and commanded his servants to find some—a tall order given that the cherry trees along the hills of Trastevere were only just in bloom. One disconsolate gardener was searching the area when St. Mark appeared to him and granted his petition by blessing a tree and making it heavy with fruit. When the cherries were brought to Pope Gregory, the story goes, the Servant of the Servants of God “wolfed down a bellyful.” Ever since then, it is customary for the Pope to enjoy a bowl of cherries on St. Mark’s Day.
In the spirit of obliging the hungry pontiff’s whims our friends Mark Patton and Karen Hickey have created a delicious champagne cocktail called a Gregorian Royale.
2 tsp. cherry syrup
Prosecco, chilled
Pour cherry syrup into champagne flute and fill with Prosecco. To make the cherry syrup, you will need one 24 oz. jar of sour cherries, one cup of sugar, and lime juice. Pour the entire jar, cherries and juice, into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain mixture into a medium pot, bring mixture to a boil, add sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. It should be reduced to about 1½ cups. Allow to cool and add 2 tsp. lime juice.

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