ORIGINAL — The Archangel


August 20, 2010 (Day 203) — The Archangel

The Archangel Raphael is one of the three angels mentioned by name in scripture, and one of the seven angels who sits before god’s throne.

According to this online database of saints, he is also the patron saint of apothecaries. In my twisted and warped world view, I’ve always regarded the mixologist and bartender as a modern reincarnation of the ancient apothecary. Now true, apothecaries have more in common with modern day pharmacists than Jimmy the Greek behind the bar. After all, the dispensed the medicines of their time, along with advice, suggestions and directions.

Healers.

These elixers, created and sold, were meant to cure the ails of the public. (Although, not all. For you lit geeks out there, it was an apothecary who sold Romeo the draught that would cause his death).

Truth be told, isn’t that – just a little bit — what we are as purveyors of libations? We take separate and disparate ingredients and combine them into something that is greater than the sum of their parts. Behind the gleaming, well polished bar; through the hazy smoke of your favorite dive; in both high-class piano bars and joints of ill repute; you forge medicine that treats what ails that lonely, happy, despondent, hysterical crowd.

Like a modern day apothecary, our favorites bars exist to give us the cure for what ails us. Or, the poison we so desperately desire. It’s with this in mind, I set to making a cocktail that’s going to take a little bit of time. It’s going to take some planning ahead, some craft and some skill. I call it…

The Archangel

2 cups fresh blackberries

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 bottle Crispin The Saint, chilled

Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs and blackberries

Simmer blackberries, sugar, water, and rosemary in a small heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about two thirds, about 20 minutes.

Pour into a very fine sieve set over a glass measure and let stand 5 minutes (there should be about 1/3 cup). Discard solids, making sure you’re not pressing on them. It’ll get crap in your cocktail. And no one likes crap-filled cocktails. Cover the syrup then chill until cold.

Divide The Saint among your champagne flutes, then pour 1 1/2 teaspoons syrup into each drink. The carbonation of of the Crispin will mix the syrup together.

This is delicious. The blackberry rosemary syrup is very subtle in the drink, adding a great color and just a hint of berry and rosemary on the end of the drink. The Saint cider is a bit headier than the original, with a maple flavor and a bit heavier. The brightness of the syrup goes very well. It’s bright, it’s bubbly and it has a delicious, fall like flavor.

Jenn’s Take: It’s classy, without being pretentious.

Mark’s Take: Yeah, that sounds about right. A great fall drink.

Ahh, but why call it The Archangel? Why invoke the name of an angel who only appears in the Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit? It’s actually rather simple, if not somewhat convoluted. The main ingredient I’m using in this drink is called The Saint. Raphael the Archangel is the patron saint of apothecaries. Bartenders = modern apothecaries as mentioned above. Hence, The Archangel.

Cheers!

— Mark

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