Dancing With a Purple Fairy

“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” 

 This is a question Jack Nicholson poses as the “Joker” in the first installment of the Batman movies.  (Which, by the way, I thought his performance was great.  I know there are a lot of fans of the “Health Ledger Joker”, and he did a great job also.  But just seeing Jack prancing around in a colorful, outlandish outfit and that fiendish, creepy make up was a treat, and very different from the roles he usually plays.)

Well, the question I ask is a little different, and I am not wearing make up.  My question is,”Have you ever danced with the Green Fairy”?

 No, I am not referring to a cast member of “Glee”…”Modern Family” or “Will and Grace”.   Nor is this a new villain for Christian Bale to face off with in another “Batman” movie.

 The “Green Fairy” I refer to is Absinthe…the celebrated drink that had been banned in North America and much of Europe for almost a hundred years.  The same one that has recently made a big comeback, with “Absinthe” bars popping up in major cities across the country.  When Diana and I visited Paris with Blake and Yvonne in 2009, there were even stores that specialized in Absinthe and it’s own special apparatus…spoons…cocktail glasses…varieties of Absinthe…fountains…etc.

Actually I think Absinthe got a bad rap somewhere along the way. (see: wormwood) At one point it was quite popular with all sorts of societal segments…Parisian Bohemian types…Picasso…the lower class of English Tudors…Oscar Wilde…Toulouse-Lautrec…Roman philosophers.  Ernest Hemingway was known to add it to his champagne, and inspired “Death in the Afternoon”…the drink and the novel.  Legend has it that Van Gogh cut off his ear after drinking Absinthe.  And who knows how many more legends have been created and wrongfully attributed to this wonderful drink referred to as the “Green Fairy”.  (by the way, there is some speculation on how Absinthe got the moniker “The Green Fairy”.  Some say it is because of the “magical healing power” it possesses…however others insist it is because that is what you see if you have had too much of it.  [see: Hemingway and “Death in the Afternoon”] I really do not know, either first hand or through research.  But I can tell you that some Absinthe is as strong as 140 proof…most alcohol is 80-90 proof…and that in itself can help you see a lot more than a pink elephant…or a Glee cast member!)

So, at the risk of cutting off my ear, a la Van Gogh, I have grown an affinity for Absinthe…especially showing up in a variety of cocktails, including a Sazerac.  It is something to be enjoyed in regulated quantities…especially while at home and no reason to drive.  But it is an enjoyably distinct drink.  Which leads me to my “Cocktail of the Week”…

There is an Absinthe cocktail that is known as the “Black Fairy”.  ( Apologies to a celebrated individual in St Louis who is, or was, the self-proclaimed “Sugar Plum Fairy”.)  And if you search for the recipe, you will probably come across a few different versions of the recipe.  So I decided to create my own version of this…a slightly different twist…the “Purple Fairy”.  Yes, perhaps I could have been a little more creative, but I didn’t want to take the chance of experimenting too much and losing an ear…(see: Van Gogh)

So, here is my weekly installment of “Cocktail of the Week”.  I hope you all enjoy it.

 The Purple Fairy

  •  5  Blackberries
  •   ¾ ounce Rye
  • ¾ ounce Absinthe
  • ¾ ounce Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • ½ ounce lemon infused simple syrup (see recipe below)

 Put 4 Blackberries into a shaker. 

Add the lemon juice, the simple syrup and a little bit of cracked ice. 

Muddle together (mash with a “muddler” or the back of a spoon)

Add the Rye and the Absinthe.

Shake well for 30 seconds.

Pour into an Old Fashioned glass with a single ice cube and the lemon zest ( for those who have read this blog before, you may know I prefer one cube, the size of a cue ball.  It chills the drink and melts slower, thus not watering the drink down quite as fast.  These can be purchased, thank you Diana and Drew, on line at the Museum of Modern Art store)

Add the fifth blackberry as a garnish.

 Lemon Infuse Simple Syrup

 Place equal parts of sugar and water (1/3-1/2 cup works well for small quantities) into a small saucepan.  Add the zest of ½ of a lemon.  Cook on a medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Cool and refrigerate.

 NOTE:  the same recipe can be followed using almost any ingredient in place of lemon zest…lime zest…ginger…jalepeno…honey…etc.

 There you have it.  If it is a little sweet for your taste, cut back on the simple syrup, or add a little bit of club soda.

 I really encourage, and hope, some of you will be trying these cocktails I am suggesting.  But I also hope that if you do, it will either be at home (where you will not be operating heavy machinery) or if you are out and about, you will drink responsibly…or have a designated driver…in which case you do not need to drink responsibly, but act responsibly.

Either way, I hope you will “Dance with a Purple Fairy”, as a matter of fact, just dance and enjoy each day.  

Enjoy life.   

Dancing is good. 

Life is good. 

So is a Purple Fairy…the drink…I can not speak to any other kind.

 Have fun.  It is your responsibility.  Start today.  It’s not too late.

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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