All Witches, All the Time
This witch reviews Hocus Pocus 2...AND the Wheel of the Year recipe deck is HERE! Drinks & Poetry event, plus a special Samhain menu of the weirdest, witchiest booktails from the Potions Library!
Greetings, witches! And a blessed October to you all. This is the month of ghosts and ghouls, potions and parties, and candy galore, and I am here for it!
October also means my first published novel, THE GOLD PERSIMMON, is one year old. I have much to say about becoming a published author and my book’s first year in the world, but time is flying, and I feel like I’ve already produced enough essays and interviews on the subject. Suffice to say, publishing is fucking hard. It’s taken me a year to (mostly) recover from the stress, anxiety, and identity crisis that comes with your first book. And yet, I have no regrets, only greater awareness and gratitude for the friends I’ve made along the way. If that’s you, hi, friend! I appreciate you.
By the way, you can still find signed copies of THE GOLD PERSIMMON in my shop, plus a cocktail compendium and cocktail/mocktail recipe deck to go with it. I mean, I know I need a drink when I read!
Ok, enough of that, back to witchery.
We can’t talk October without talking Samhain
Samhain (pronounced sah-win. They got it wrong on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and I will never get over it and yes, I am going to bring it up every year, you’re welcome) is the ancestor of Halloween. To pagans, it’s the spiritual new year and festival of the dead, when the boundary between the physical and spiritual world grows thin and mischievous magick is afoot.
You can find all four custom Samhain cocktail recipes in the Wheel of the Year recipe deck, inspired by the 8 sabbats that mark the pagan calendar. Decks are $30, plus shipping. Digital download is also available for $6. And if you’ve already ordered other sabbat sets, that means you’re eligible for some discounts! So check your spam, I def sent you an email.
The Wheel of the Year is more than an assortment of seasonal recipes. This is art. This is spellwork. May it bring magic to your life!
Hocus Pocus 2, Reviewed
Speaking of magic, I was excited to watch Hocus Pocus 2, mostly for the excellent, diversified, and predominantly female cast. You could tell Bette Midler was having a ball and SJP has not lost her timing. Overall, the “story” mostly serves as a backdrop for clip-worthy song and dance sequences and visits from characters from the first movie, who spout the same lines. In other words, it’s a musical! Never mind how they know songs they’ve never heard before—it’s witchcraft!
It was interesting to watch the film grapple with the witch revival that’s taken place since the first Hocus Pocus. (If you hadn’t heard, witchcraft is all the rage these days.) An effort was made to portray witches as morally complicated, or at minimum subject to a good witch/bad witch binary a la The Wizard of Oz. Still, there were cringe-worthy moments where “you witch!” was hurled as an insult. I’ve been conducting witchy research of late, in preparation for the November witch-themed session of the independent study I run with some incredibly talented feminist horror writers—let me know if you want in on that. I’ve come across multiple mentions of the infamous “witch with a capital B” comment Rush Limbaugh made in 2016 in reference to—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton.
A witch is a subversive person, a powerful outsider. It’s not surprising HP2 navigates that legacy somewhat awkwardly.
Cocktail & Mocktail Demo Followed by Readings with the Editors of Agape Editions, Orison Books, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, and Yes Poetry
Tuesday, October 25. 8:30 pm EST.
Must RSVP to attend! Ingredients will be sent out in advance
THIS EVENT IS VIRTUAL
And now, the top 4 weirdest, witchiest, most thrilling Booooooktails from the Potions Library!
Samatha Heather Mackey is trapped in a top-tier MFA program. Her peers are a clique of squealing, glittery girl-boss white feminists who like to etch poems on glass and call each other “Bunny.” When their disdain for Sam transforms into an invitation to join their girl group, she finds the pull of their wealth and splendor too much to resist, even as she risks losing Ava, her one true friend. Sam soon learns what the Bunnies are really up to and becomes part of their disturbing rituals disguised as art, performed for the sake of their own gratification.
1 c gin
1 oz dry champagne
0.5 oz lemongrass syrup (see recipe)
0.5 oz lemon juice
Gunpowder green tea
First, add a satchel of Gunpowder green tea to a cup of gin and let sit for 2 hours, then discard the tea. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Once cool, add the syrup to a shaker, along with the gin, lemon juice, and a large cube or chunk of ice. Agitate vigorously, then strain into a stemmed glass and top with champagne. Garnish with an edible orchid, if desired.
1 c sugar
1 c water
2 Tbsp lemongrass paste
Stir all ingredients together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Once cool, strain and store in a glass bottle or jar. Keep refrigerated.
Young Rebecca and her surly, hard-drinking mother find themselves accused of witchcraft after their village falls under the spell of a mysterious and aloof witch hunter. Ravaged by civil war and hunger, the community is ripe for hysteria and eager for scapegoats to heap blame upon for their misfortunes—and poor, unattached women are the perfect targets. This novel is based on actual historical events.
THE MANNINGTREE WITCHES
2 oz Oude Kriek lambic beer
1.5 oz Tennessee whiskey
1 oz rosemary pear syrup (see recipe)
Sprig fresh rosemary
Prepare the syrup. Once it’s cool, fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the whiskey and pear syrup, then gently stir until well mixed. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with the beer. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, if desired.
2 ripe Anjou pears, peeled and cored
1 c sugar
1 c water
¼ c lemon juice
1 sprig rosemary
Mix the pears in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water if necessary. Stir together the pear purée, water, sugar, lemon, and rosemary sprig in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Once cool, strain through a mesh strainer to remove any remaining pulp, stirring as needed. Store in a glass bottle or jar and keep refrigerated.
Molly is a paleobotanist who discovers some unusual artifacts that appear to have inexplicably crossed over from an alternate reality. Soon, a second self appears, hungry to mother the children Molly loves so dearly, but who also siphon off her reserves, as little children do.
1.5 oz gin
1 oz green apple juice (see recipe)
1 oz RumChata
Prepare the juice first. Once ready, combine all ingredients in a shaker with a large cube or chunk of ice. Agitate vigorously until mixture is frothy, then strain into a chilled glass.
Green Apple Juice
1 large Granny Smith Apple or two medium apples
¼ c water
2 Tbsp honey
1 oz lemon juice
Peel and roughly chop the apple. Add the chunks to a blender, along with the water, honey, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, then use a mesh strainer to separate the juice and pulp. Discard the solids and store the juice in a glass jar or bottle. Keep refrigerated.
The search for a magical tome called The Book of the Most Precious Substance takes former bestselling novelist and rare book dealer Lily Albrecht on a riveting and sumptuously nourished treasure hunt through the US and Europe. If she can find this book—whose secrets, if mastered through various sexual acts, lead to untold power—maybe she can reclaim the beautiful life she’s lost. But as Lily and her partner navigate threats of violence and eccentric rich characters (some of them witches, others have guns), the magic spurring them on begins to reveal more of its sinister desire.
THE BOOK OF THE MOST PRECIOUS SUBSTANCE
1 oz gin
1 oz Drambuie
Pomegranate foam (see recipe)
1/8th teaspoon vanilla extract
A small piece of very dark chocolate, preferably Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt
¼ cup pomegranate juice
3 Tbsp simple syrup
2 Tbsp and 2 tsp aquafaba (the juice from a can of chickpeas)
2 tsp lemon juice
To begin, add the gin, Drambuie, and vanilla to a shaker with a large cube or chunk of ice. Agitate vigorously, until the ice begins to splinter. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and set aside.
Next, prepare the foam by combining the pomegranate juice, aquafaba, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a bowl or standing mixer. Whisk at medium speed until all the liquid has converted to foam, about one minute. Top the cocktail with champagne and let the bubbles settle, then scoop the foam atop the champagne til the surface is covered and an island of foam reaches just above the rim.
To achieve full potency, serve this cocktail with a piece of very dark chocolate.
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