Unlike the seemingly arbitrary assignment of some holidays (yes, PB&J Day, I’m looking at you), National Battery Day makes perfect sense as it falls on February 18th, the birthday of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery.
Volta (from whom we get the word volt–the measure of electrical potential) was a physicist born in Como Italy, who discovered the gas methane in 1778 as well as created what he called a voltaic pile in 1800–an electrochemical cell or, in other words, a battery. With some acidic or brined cloth between them, the stacked zinc and copper get to zapping, and we get electricity. He also had another version called, appropriately enough, the Crown of Cups.
3/4 oz. Pepper Vodka
1/2 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
a couple pieces CrystallizedÂ Ginger
2 1/2 oz. Ginger Beer
In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle theÂ crystallizedÂ ginger with the vodka and chocolate liqueur until the ginger is broken up. Fill the mixing glass 3/4 full with ice, top with ginger beer and shake until nice and frothy. Strain into a prepared cocktail glass and garnish with a bit more of the crystallized ginger and a red chili.
When brainstorming this drink for a few days leading up to my own experiments, I was thinking of flavors that would instantly communicate a bit of a zap to the tongue: ginger and chili. Well, turns out, when I did the research, both ginger and chili powder natural sources of copper in the diet, and dark chocolate gives us copper as well as zinc*. Obviously the distillation process has probably done away with the actual health benefits of this drink, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
As for particulars, for the vodka I used Absolut Peppar, the chocolate was–of course–Godiva, and the ginger beer Bundaberg. If you must use ginger ale, at least use something with some bite to it or make up a small batch of ginger sugar syrup (small because the ginger zing fades away quickly) and add it to your own seltzer water to taste.
So if you need something to zap you into action, why not raise your glass to Count Volta (so honored by Napoleon in 1801) and get to your good times quick like a bunny.
Sips & Shots: come for the cocktails, stay for the history lessons. Or not.
*For the love of all that’s good and right, please do not take your nutritional guidelines from a cocktail article, m’kay? If you think you need additional zinc, copper, or anything else that your body may be lacking, please see a doctor not a bartender.