Toward the end of Greek civilization, people began to adopt cutesy names for their beverages. Concoctions like "Ethiope's Teat" (Kalhua and cream) and "French Bath" (ox saliva strained through dung and mixed with mead) were all the rage in the Athenian, Thracian, Minoan and Theban club scenes. The historian Herodotus chronicled the growth of meat-market bacchanalian trends in his work "How To Host a Party for Fun and Profit." (It was on the Spartan Times best-seller list for three ages.)
In this landmark work, Herodotus ranks these concoctions categorically and in order of popularity. In the category of Aphrodisiacs, the "Priapus on the Beach" ranks highest, followed by "Persian's Wet Dream." Surprisingly, given its lethal nature, "Athenian Iced tea" ranked No. 6 out of 48. In the category of Punitive Beverages, it ranked even higher, coming in at No. 3.
Athenian Iced Tea is similar to several other popular drinks, but with more permanent effects. What follows is the recipe provided in Herodotus' book: Take one part papyrus juice, one part distillate of olive, three parts rum, one part tequila, one part vodka and a modicum of hemlock. Blend with ice and garnish with lemon and a little parasol.
It's as delicious as it sounds. Even now, as I finish up my weekly column, I'm about to imbibe my own 20th century version. Lacking papyrus juice and distillate of olive, I've substituted horchada and vanilla extract. I also didn't have any hemlock available, so I'm just using nutmeg. But if you ever get a chance to try the original recipe, do. I've heard it's to die for.
Dave Nagel is the brand spankin' new Senior Producer of Creative Mac. An eight-year veteran of the print publishing world, Nagel covered a broad range of topics in the areas of technology and marketing. As a Mac psychofanatic since 1987, he's finally landed his dream job: earning a living writing about his favorite topic. If you have something to say, please send a polite e-mail to [email protected]. (Let's not try to bring him down from his euphoria too soon.)