Mai Bloody Valentine
Classic comedian, Henny Youngman was most famous for his line "Take my wife... please!" He always seemed to be ready with endless one-liner jokes about love and relationships, always taking a cynical and sarcastic tone. "The secret to a happy marriage remains a secret," or "You can't buy love, but you can pay heavily for it," are a few that come to mind. Every February 14, I just can't seem to get Henny out of my head. He sure did have a way to make us laugh at the crazy things we do in the name of love.
Welcome back, my thirsty readers, and a happy Valentine's Day to you! It's been nice taking a break, since our 25 day streak of rummy Chirstmas goodness. Perhaps "a break" isn't the best way to put things, as it's been crazy busy in other aspects, but never the less, here we are again, with another tale and of course another cocktail. It felt only appropriate to do so in the spirit of the holiday!
We all know that February 14 is Valentin'es Day, and it's put undue pressure on everyone for years, while padding the retail candy and flower markets considerably. How did we get to this point anyways? At what point did we decide we should exchange tokens of chocolate and plants as a symbol of our love every year and why?
In Ancient Rome, the Feast of Lupercalia was celebrated from February 13 to 15. Among the customs of the feast, the Romans would sacrifice animals, whip women to increase fertility, and engage in all sorts of drunken and naked antics. Single persons were also entered into a crude lottery were they were "coupled" with a member of the opposite sex for the duration of the feast to see if they ummm "hit it off." Sometimes they would stay together, if it was a good match, making this festival a very barbaric "celebration of love."
In the 3rd Century, Emperor Claudius II executed two different men on February 14, who both happened to be named Valentine. The Catholic Church decided to honor these martyrs with the much more solemn celebration of St. Valentine's Day. Within a few centuries, in order to cast out those pagan rituals of Lupercalia, the Catholics combined the celebrations, but they decided to keep the love aspect, just in a much less debauched way.
Though the roots may be a bit bloody and horrific, most of us see today as an excuse to get dressed up, take our partners out for a nice dinner, and perhaps reignite a little spark we've neglected over the past year. This obviously looks a bit different in a pandemic world, so cocktails at home might still be the game plan. I've always said, "You can't go wrong with a Mai Tai," and in honor of Luperi... I mean, Valentine's Day, let's shake up this extra bloody nod to our favorite tropical libation.
Mai Bloody Valentine
1oz Aged Jamaican Rum
1oz Aged Multi Island Rum (Something like Denizen Merchant Reserve would work well here. I used the 2 year aged Hidden Harbor blend from Maggie's Farm, but alas, that one isn't available in the retail market.)
.5oz Ginger Syrup
.75oz Lime Juice
1oz Blood Orange Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Mai Tai or Double Old Fashioned glass.
Whip shake and pour unstrained.
Top with crushed ice.
Garnish with mint sprigs, lime hull, flower, and blood orange slice.
*Blood Oranges have a very short season, so don't be discouraged if you don't find them in a couple weeks. This is certainly a drink for right now.*
As per usual, cocktails and history is all fun and games here, but today is especially hard, if you live in the United States. Yesterday, we watched democracy have the life squeezed from it's very soul. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then I envy you, and I hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day. As for the rest of us, we will continue to fight for what's right. We will not be silent. We will keep shaking.