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 Emmanuel”
We arrive at our final O Antiphon. Emmanuel means “God who is with us”. It is the most stunning title of them all, and represents the biggest surprise in the history of God’s healing work in the world. God did not just save us from afar, or by declaration, or by force. Instead he he came to be with us; and not just then, but also now and for eternity. That is the essence of our salvation in Christ: union with him.
Today’s Prayer & Scripture
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, Hope of the nations, and Savior of all people: come to save us, O Lord our God.
The main text is Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel.” For further reflection, read Matthew 1:18-25, when this text and title are applied to Jesus. You can also read the original, full lyrics to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel to see all of these O Antiphons put in beautiful poetic form.
The Drink: Incarnation O’Fashioned
- 2oz Jamaican Rum
- 2 dashes Cocoa Bitters
- .5oz Banana Liquer
- .25oz Chai Concentrate as rinse
- 1 shot of Espresso or cold brew concentrate (on side or chilled and added to drink)
- Garnish with piece of chocolate
Pull shot of espresso and place in freezer to chill. Add Chai concentrate to drinking glass and swirl to coat the inside. Discard excess and add large ice cube to glass. Stir rum, bitters, and liqueur in mixing glass and strain into your glass. Enjoy the drink as is a bit. Then, “incarnate” the shot of espresso into the drink.
Of all the O Antiphons, “Emmanuel” is probably the one with the most mass knowledge and appeal, so I wanted this cocktail to be the most indulgent crowd-pleaser I could think of.
The visuals of the drink represent all the dark parts of human existence, while the flavors are the rich, sweet, lovely parts. It’s into this mix of dark and sweet that the espresso shot “incarnates” and becomes one. It’s really good, y’all.
(Strictly speaking, adding the espresso makes it no longer an Old Fashioned, and the cocktail is great on its own. But still, try it.)
The base here is the greatest go-to Jamaican Rum, Smith & Cross. Next to that are Angostura Cocoa Bitters and Giffard’s Banane du Bresil–the best banana liqueur in existence.
The rinse is optional. I have a small bottle of chai concentrate given to me by the manager of Philadelphia Distilling a few years back as a wedding gift. They had it behind the bar for a drink of theirs. I imagine you could use chai tea concentrate and it would work, but I didn’t try it. Lastly, the espresso is just Nespresso (real espresso machines are expensive!)
[art credit: “Fleeting Moment” by Jo Barker]
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