In my original blog schedule, I had today pegged for the upcoming Columbus Day holiday (observed on 10/8 in 2012, the landing was actually 10/12). While I’m not averse to hit on some more obscure holidays over this next year, I figured it made sense to hit up all the US Federal holidays, too.
Until I started brushing up on my Columbus Day research, and realized that (obviously) not everyone considered this a positive celebration (several states don’t even observe it). While I don’t think it’s necessarily right that our generation be held responsible for things done by generations (centuries) past, it’s one thing to accept the unfortunate-to-our-modern-eyes culture of the day back in the age of exploration and move forward and another to celebrate that which displaced nations. At first I thought maybe to do equal time: Columbus Day this week, Indigenous Peoples Day next. But then I realized how much poor taste it would be in to raise a cocktail in celebration of a culture for whom alcoholism is a severe problem.
So I decided we’re just going to back slowly away from that whole minefield and focus on another upcoming holiday: Leif Erikson Day!
You know, the Viking that actually discovered North America almost 500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue?
From what I can tell, though the son of Erik the Red did land and settle, for a time, in present-day Canada around the turn of the lastÂ millenniaÂ he didn’t really set down roots. And the family of his that went back were, in fact, wiped out by native tribes and that was pretty much the end of that.
And although October 9th was not the day Erikson set foot in the New World, it was the date chosen to celebrate the Norwegian discovery of the New World.
That Norse Thing
3 oz Apple Juice
2 oz Gin
1 oz Pomegranate Tequila
Â Combine all ingredients over ice in a tall glass and stir until frigid.
The way I see it, if your off on a voyage of discovery, you don’t need to be fiddling around with a lot of gear, glasses with tiny stems, or anything overly complicated. You need your drink ready to go in a few moments because that’s all you might have. So this cocktail is built in the serving glass and stirred to combine. Juniper and apples are common(ish) in Norse cooking, and the pomegranate is my nod to Erikson (son of Erik… the red… please tell me I don’t have to keep explaining that one). Tequila may seem an odd choice–he didn’t land in Mexico–but the Pomegranate Tequila I have is far smoother and blends better than the pomegranate liqueur on its own.
And about the name. One thing I noticed when I was reading up on Erikson and Norway was that they have a lot of Things–in this case, thing meaning an assembly or group, later the matter or object being discussed at the assembly or meeting–and I just had to work that in somehow. They weren’t the only ones with Things (there are similar Germanic roots, too), but it was just somethingÂ to good to pass up.
Regardless of what you choose to celebrate this coming week, make sure you celebrate with awareness.
And, you know, don’t drink and boat.