Mercury retrograde is upon us, when the little things in life suddenly turn on us in irritating ways. Don’t ask me why, there is no scientific explanation (yet) why the perceived backwards travel of a small planet millions of miles away would affect our communication here on Earth. Yet, anecdotally I can tell you it does seem to have an effect, and patience is a virtue during these times.
In the Western (whatever that ever meant) magical tradition, this is a good time for being a little, umm, deceptive if that’s something that is required for the task at hand. So what more appropriate cocktail than the Long Island Iced Tea? It looks like a simple glass of iced tea, but whoa does it pack a punch! Here’s an updated version that is easy to make at home (pro tip- just buy the airplane bottles of any spirit you don’t have in your home bar) to get you through any electronic malfunctions or deception thrown your way.
1/2oz each vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and triple sec (all the clear stuff typically found in a typical bar)
3/4oz simple syrup
1oz lemon juice
splash of cola
shake all ingredients except for cola, pour over ice and top with cola
Oh, and there maybe some deception involved in the origin of this dive bar classic, you can read all about it here..
Yeah.. I have worked at a haunted bar or two. Even the most sceptical STEM-bro, if he were to work in enough bars, would eventually have something happen that he’d have a hard time ‘sciencing the shit out of’.
What is it about bars that attract such strange energies?
I can’t say for certain, but perhaps it is a multitude of factors.
bars are places full of life and energy- it only makes sense that the energy would linger, or at least imprint something on the mind to suggest continuing human activity after such activity had ceased.
people drink at bars- our faculties as guests (and yes occasionally staff, especially after closing) are sometimes compromised, or perhaps more open to phenomena we would normally dismiss
closing/opening staff are often alone- when you’re alone, sometimes you see or hear things that aren’t (?) there
people die/suffer trauma at bars- sad but true, maybe the trauma leaves a psychic residue
So perhaps it is all in our heads; I don’t believe that but you’re entitled to if you like. I have two stories I can’t for the life of me explain, but I will save them for the podcast. Let’s get on to the cocktail!
It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with a ‘ghost-theme’ classic cocktail. I mean there are plenty of spooky names for drinks and plenty of corny Halloween cocktails online; but very little to work with in the classic sense of a ‘ghost’. I chose the ‘White Lady’, and went with the recipe from the Savoy Cocktail Book as it has claim to being one of the first recipes. It is what I would classify as a ‘daisy’- a family of drinks including the Sidecar and Margarita. The definition of daisy is loose, but it should contain a base spirit, citrus, and orange liquor as a sweetener. Soda water is optional, and then you basically have a Collins anyway, but I digress. The Savoy version is just two parts dry gin to one part each Cointreau and lemon juice, simple, dry, elegant- but a little lacking in body. Most bartenders I know use a beefier version with egg white, and make it into a gin sour.
2oz dry gin
1oz lemon juice
3/4oz simple syrup
1 egg white
Shake without ice, then shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, apply bitters in little dots and dashes on top as you see fit
Why did I choose the White Lady? I feel like a ‘Lady in White’ is one of the most common apparitions reported at bars and hotels, and in general. The scorned bride who died tragically at her own hands, or the hands of another, or through some accident, is a common theme in folklore. She is a sad and elegant reminder of a bygone age, an equally scary and sympathetic figure, who calls us back to the edge of belief in an afterlife that may not be any happier than this mixed bag of existence. So therefore let us toast to her, all of the versions of her, and wish her soul some relief this Halloween!