Foundation Cocktail (for the Feast of Peter’s Confession)


  • 1.5oz Dry Gin
  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth
  • .75oz Green Chartreuse
  • .5oz Olive Brine
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Walnut Bitters
  • Garnish with Olive

Thematically, you should build the cocktail in the glass with the ice, but this is a lot of liquid. So the other option is to stir all ingredients in a mixing glass and pour over a large ice cube and serve the rest in a sidecar glass on the side. Garnish with an olive speared by two picks.

* * * *

And on this rock, I will build my… cocktail.

January 18 is a multi-layered date in the Christian Church calendar. Primarily, it is a feast day to celebrate the moment when Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah. But a lot of other things happen in this same passage that are also included in this day.

Peter gets his name changed from Simon to Peter. Catholics would say that Jesus appoints Peter as the first pope here. Jesus also says the word “church” here for the first time, as he says he will build it on this “rock” of Peter, so this is also considered the honorary birthday of the church.

Lastly, the World Council of Churches chose this feast day as an appropriate kick-off for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. So like I said, it’s a lot, and so is this cocktail.

The drink is strong and maybe the most subtly complex drink I’ve ever made. It has a lovely progression from light saltiness in the front into a deep, quiet sweetness in the back. It’s an acquired taste, but one I’d proudly feature on a cocktail menu. So enjoy the drink while meditating on the church’s foundational moment and praying a prayer for Christian unity

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Baptism Birthday (a Holy Day cocktail)


  • 1.5oz Gin
  • 1.5oz Light Rum
  • .25 Anisette Liquer
  • .5 barspoon Absinthe
  • 3 dashes Rhubarb Bitters
  • Express a lime peel over the top

Stir all ingredients in mixing glass and strain into a martini glass or coupe. Express the oils of a lime peel over the top. No garnish.

* * * *

For a several years now, I have celebrated my annual “baptism birthday” to reflect on my baptism, my membership in the family of God, and the seal of assurance God has on me.

It’s beautiful and meaningful, and it deserved a cocktail. And, seeing as yesterday was the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, this seems like a good time to share it with you.

My goal was to make a drink like baptism–it looks like it’s just water but there’s a lot more going on.

Boy, did I succeed.

The drink is a lovely balance of floral and nutty with some herbal spice to it. These flavors really meld well together to create a complex bouquet of flavors that’s really striking (why don’t more drinks mix gin and rum!?).

This drink is a favorite of mine for its meaning, aesthetic, and taste, and I hope it can become that way to you. As you drink it, remember your own baptism and the promise of God to mark you and keep you as his child.


I used a juicy, citrus-forward, and very flavorful gin rather than a dry gin. For the rum, I used Maggie’s Farm White Rum, which is fantastic and has more character than most light rums, but whatever you have should work fine. Absinthe is an acquired taste, but it’s used in such small quantities and there are enough competing strong flavors that Absinthe-haters should not fear. It’s a lovely accent on the drink.

The only somewhat obscure ingredients are the bitters and liqueur. I supposed you could use orange bitters in place of rhubarb, but only if they are a very strong sweet orange flavor. The Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters taste almost like sweet tarts, with a unique strong burst of flavor (it’s especially delicious added to plain seltzer). So if you can get your hands on those, they’re worth your time.

Lastly, when most people think of Anise in cocktails, they think absinthe, but the liqueur is a very different beast. Absinthe begins with anise, but adds a lot of bittering agents. Anisette adds sugar, coriander, and other ingredients that make a very sweet, nutty flavor. So much so that you might be able to substitute Amaretto into this drink.

“Twelfth Night” (a cocktail for the last day of Christmas)


  • 1.5oz Gin
  • 1oz Dry Madeira
  • .75oz Cointreau
  • .25oz Cinnamon Syrup
  • .25oz Cranberry Juice
  • .25oz Orange Juice
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • Orange Wheel garnish

Shake all ingredients, including the clove. Strain into a chilled coupe. Express an orange peel over the top. Garnish with an orange wheel and two toothpicks.

* * * *

The final night of the 12-day Christmas season is called “Twelfth Night”. It’s the last day of gift-giving, decorations, many food and drink traditions (including wassail!), and a Shakespeare play—and now I have a cocktail for it! And don’t forget the “drumstick” garnishes in honor of the song’s 12 drummers drumming.

This is an amazing Christmas cocktail. It has dark fruit notes, with a touch of brightness, and a lot of complexity and depth without being a “sweet” drink. It definitely straddles the line between a sipper and easy drinking. It is a slight variation of this drink in honor of the play.

The ingredients are mostly self-explanatory, except for the madeira. I don’t have a ton of experience with it, but I know there’s huge variation between the different types and brands. For this I used Broadbent Rainwater Medium Dry Madeira. Your mileage may vary depending on what you find. You may be able to substitute a port or even a dark sweet vermouth.

Enjoy this drink and have the merriest of final Christmas evenings before we head into the season of Epiphany!

“O Key of David” | Emancipation O’Fashioned

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.

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