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The Hudson Witch, a Strega based cocktail

Posted on October 21, 2013 by cocktailvultures

Hudson Witch

Strega, that sweet, herbal liqueur from Italy, was an under-utilized ingredient until the Cocktail Vultures came along. We enjoy it not only for its witchy name and origins, but for the breath of spring meadows it lends to a drink, without the bitterness of other aperitifs and amaros. This is one of the first recipes the Cocktail Vultures concocted together, and so we gave it the name of the mighty river near our homes. It was a hit at a local charity event here in Poughkeepsie, and cast its spell over a hundred costumed revelers.

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce Strega
3/4 ounce lime juice
1-2 dashes bitters — we prefer aged, whisky-flavored varieties

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with some maraschino cherries speared on a contorted twig from a spooky hollow, or just a nice plastic sword pic.

Strega and The Golden Witch

Posted on February 11, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Foreword by Joe Netherworld : Strega, that strange sweet herbal liqueur, has been a tradition in my household for two major reasons: 1) my family on one side hails from Benevento, formerly Malevento, Italy, and 2) it’s named after a Witch.

Back in post-Roman days and up until the later 1700’s, Benevento was called Malevento because it referred to the fact that it was a “bad journey” to go there, a place known to be populated by Gypsies and Witches and – gasp! – Gypsy Witches!!!!! Every village had its own herbal remedy or liqueur much like the origin of Absinthe in Switzerland….. Most famous of these and the only one to retain a commercial distillation is Liquore Strega. If you want a description of its flavor it is very hard to pinpoint, but it evokes a bright warm sunny day on the hillsides of Southern Italy. It’s a unique flavor, one that stands out in most mixed drinks it is in and a hard match at times, but once you get a taste for it you will always try to consider yet another use for it.

Text by Peggy Nadramia

In a cocktail world where herbal liqueurs of a bitter and challenging nature are constantly in use, we turned with hope in our hearts to an Italian herbal that is often overlooked: Strega, the golden taste of an Italian Spring that trips lightly on the tongue. She is happy to dance with other spirits but here she is on her own in a pagan revelry that includes that eternal symbol of fertility and the Solstice: the egg.

The Golden Witch

To an ice-filled shaker, add:

2 ounces Strega
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 fresh, whole egg

Shake vigorously; dance around your kitchen in an eldritch and unfettered manner. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a broom of fresh rosemary. Prepare this by stripping half a sprig of its leaves, leaving enough to produce a broom-like appearance.

Now, if it is Walpurgisnacht:

Sweep your broom three times around the surface of your drink — Widdershins, of course — and make your toast, or your Pact, to the coming season.

(This will actually improve the flavor so do it even if it isn’t Walpurgisnacht and you don’t care about the season.)

Myth's Notes:

No, I haven't tried either of these cocktails, I discovered them while looking up something else.

Cocktail Vultures has several drink recipies containing "Liquore Strega." You may wish to click on this link to Archive for Strega to read more.

I found the write up for The Golden Witch particularly interesting. Nevertheless, I'll make a couple comments about holiday dates and the streghe (witches).

Peggy Nadramia mentions in her text the "Italian Spring" and "a pagan revelry that includes that eternal symbol of fertility and the Solstice: the egg." I think she is talking about Pasqua (Easter) which occurs after the Spring Equinox...not near the Summer Solstice.

Incidentally, an Italian candy, Strega Goccioloni, sold at Easter, is decribed as dark chocolate eggs that contain Liquore Strega. Thus, connecting Easter, Eggs, and Strega is really not odd.

Lori Bruno, a Hereditary High Priestess and Elder of the Sicilian Strega line of the Craft of the Wise, was recorded in Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum's She Is Everywhere!: An Anthology of Writing in Womanist/Feminist Spirituality, Volume 1, 2005, pp 162-163, as indicating that the streghe did observe the festa della Pasqua in their own way using eggs. Supposedly, some Siculian [Sikelian] rites included burying red eggs in the east at sunrise on Easter morning.

Peggy Nadramia also mentions in her text, "Walpurgisnacht." Walpurgisnacht is the time that witches flew in Germany on the night of April 30. However, the ancient Roman festival, Floralia, was held on May 1.

And if Peggy Nadramia really did mean to refer to Summer Solstice in June, she must have meant the Festa di San Giovanni Battista, June 23 (St. John's Eve) and June 24 (The Feast Day of St. John),. St. John's Eve is sometimes called la notte delle streghe, the night of the streghe. At one time, youths in Rome used to gather in front of the cathedral of San Giovanni in Laterano (the Basilica of St. John Lateran). There they lit bonfires waiting for the arrival of the witches led by Erodiade, who led the night ride through the skies.

In Abruzzo, people divined their futures with egg whites. The white of a single egg is cracked into a transparent glass or bowl and left overnight. The person must check the egg white before sunrise. The patterns created by the night dew ought to provide the prediction of fortune told. (It is interesting that in ancient Rome, June 24 was the feast of Fors Fortuna, the Goddess of golden fortune.

2015 Myth Woodling (Recipies cannot be copyrighted.)

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