For each of the ancient “O Antiphon” prayers in this week preceding Christmas, I will be offering prayers and a variation on an Old Fashioned.
Today’s O Antiphon: “O Key of David”
Calling Jesus the “Key of David” means he perfectly fits the locks our fallen humanity and frees us. He breaks the shackles of sin and death, giving us a liberation that cannot be undone. To honor it, I’ve made a “narrative cocktail” that tells a story in how it’s made.
Today’s Prayer & Scripture
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
Isaiah 22:22-23: “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house.” Another text used today is Isaiah 42:1-9 which speaks of the Messiah’s divine and liberating power.
For further reflection, read Psalm 107, a song of thanksgiving for all the ways God saves and frees us from trouble and death. Additionally, you can search for and reflect on art that depicts “The Harrowing of Hell”, when Christ broke open the shackles of hell to free humanity from its grasp. Also, make the drink for today. It’s fantastic.
The Drink: Emancipation O’Fashioned
- 2.5oz Gin
- .5oz Fig Syrup
- 2 Droppers of Cinnamon Bitters
- Stir and garnish with Cinnamon Stick
BASIC: Build drink in your glass, stirring and garnishing with a cinnamon stick. ADVANCED (see video below): Add fig syrup and bitters to glass. Stir gin separately with ice until very well chilled. Pour the gin down the stem of your stirring spoon so it lightly sits on top of the syrup and bitters in the glass. Then stir everything together with the cinnamon stick and drink neat.
Today’s O’Fashioned is a narrative cocktail, that attempts to express the theme not only in its ingredients but also how it’s made.
The fig syrup and cinnamon represent the muck and mire of our humanity and the fiery sting of death. The gin is God’s saving love. We float the gin on the syrup to show the separation and discoloring. The Cinnamon stick is then Christ, the key that unlocks and frees us by entering into this separation and bringing them into union.
This is a really good cocktail. It is complex, sweet, and warming, with some lovely bright flavors. But I need to offer a few notes on ingredients.
Dashfire Cinnamon Bitters gives a spicy cinnamon note rather than sweeter. Liber & Co’s Caramelized Fig Syrup is an incredible product that deserves to be in everyone’s bar during the cold months of the year. If you don’t have that, you can use another darker viscous syrup as long as plays well with your gin.
Speaking of gin: most mass market gins are in the dry style. These can get lost with stronger flavors like this fig syrup. There are newer gins, though (and Hendricks), that aren’t as dry but instead put a burst of botanicals and citrus notes in the the flavor. In my testing, I really couldn’t taste the gin when I used a lighter, drier one. Use the most flavorful gin you can find and maybe even dial back the syrup. In this case I used my favorite, Philadelphia’s own Liberty Gin.
[icon credit: “Resurrection” by Ivanka Demchuk]