Feb 5, 2011

The Mundane and the Magical - Vodka

“This drink has a magical power.  It strengthens the weak, and revives those who have fainted.  Those tired after work and physical activity can return their life forces by this drink much sooner than by nourishment.  It works as a diuretic, an appetizer, an antitoxin.”
~ Carolus Linnaeus (18th-century physician documenting the effects of vodka)
~ quote found on www.vodkarocks.com

Ah, vodka.  The stuff of gods  Or at least, of Russians and great martinis.

This kicks off a new series that will pop up on occasion, discussing the wonderful ingredients that we use in both our mundane and magical lives.  Our first item is vodka.

Early vodka production was attributed to Poland, where it was made in the early Middle Ages for medicinal use.  Use of vodka quickly spread, and the "vodka belt" (Russia, Poland and the Ukraine to name a few places) is the eastern region of Europe where vodka is drunk straight with no additives or mixes.

Myself - I prefer a martini - either "Dirty" (with olive juice and olives) or some other fluffy version with fruit juices and other liquers.  Here is a recipe I like that reminds me of my friends who like to call my path "that woo woo stuff you do":

Woo Woo Martini 
(Actual name. Found in "The Martini Book" by Sally Ann Berk)

6 parts cranberry vodka
1 part peach schnapps

Combine in a cocktail shaker over cracked ice.  Shake well and serve in a martini glass, garnished with a lemon twist. 

Rue's note:  In order not to get completely smashed -drink slowly or add 1 or 2 parts of cranberry, peach or other desired fruit juice to cocktail.  This is powerful stuff!

Using good vodka is important if you are drinking it straight or with minimal additives.  I highly recommend "Crystal Head Vodka" for sipping and it's distillation process (not to mention it's packaging) lends to some wonderful magical symbolism.  This vodka is triple filtered through Herkimer Diamonds.  These are not actually diamonds, but clear quartz crystals found only in upstate New York.  Although they are naturally occuring, they have a diamond-cut appearance, which gives them their name.  Some of the magical qualities associated with these stones include: astral travel, power and healing.

Magical uses of vodka are many.  Used as a stabiliser, vodka is added to our plants and herbs to create tinctures, flower essences and mixtures such as Florida Water.  Vodka used as a stabiliser does not have to be "the good stuff," any bottle will do.

There are many recipes and schools of thought on the exact way to make a flower essence.  The general idea is to take a clear bowl of spring water into your garden and politely trim a few flowers (or leaves if you are using herbs) and place them in the bowl in direct sunlight for 3-8 hours.  What plants you use depends on your need and the qualities of those plants.  Please be sure to know the plants you are using and their possible toxicity! 

Strain the flower-water into a bottle and add vodka or brandy (or apple cider vinegar if you don't want to use alcohol.)  Usually 1/4 flower-water to 3/4 alcohol works.  This is then your "Mother" essence.  The idea of essences is that the more diluted they are, the more effective.  So, from the Mother, place 2-7 drops into a dosage (dropper) bottle and add stabiliser alcohol.  I like to use 1/2 spring water and 1/2 alcohol at this stage, as I allow my neices to use my essences and don't want them imbibing much.  Dosage is usually two to four drops, up to four times a day from your dosage (dropper) bottle. Or you can further dilute this mixture.

Tinctures are simply plant material plus a stabiliser placed into a dark bottle and stored for up to a month, but shaken daily.  These are then strained and taken as drops, either under the tongue or on the skin or in food or drink.  Echinacea in tincture form is something many people are familiar with.

Whether you are a martini fan or just use it in your herbal remedies, vodka is a versatile ingredient to have in your cupboard.




Diana said...

I am very fond of vodka. However, I live in Florida and have no idea what Florida Water is!

Danni said...

I'm going to be the lush that says, "I loves me some vodka!" Straight or mixed. :) I've never created a tincture (I'm know, I'm slacking on the woo woo stuff) so I'll have to give it a go this summer when my herb garden is in full swing.

Deedee said...

I like the idea of creating essences and tinctures.
Maybe I will try it this summer when I get some flowers up. The vodka info was very interesting too!

andrea said...

All i got to say is AMEN!!! to vodka sista!! I do use it on a ' witches herbs, from my garden!! mix it and magick will happen!

Jeanne said...

The Woo Woo Martini looks good! I must give it a try. I'm always game for a good vodka drink.
My son got to meet Dan Akroyd when he started making promo visits to distributors with his Crystal Head vodka. (My son works for a liquor distributor) And my son has a 'bottle' waiting for me - hopefully it will still be full..... :0)
I'm looking forward to your new series.

Mickie Mueller Art said...

What a great blog you have! I've been dying to get myhands on one of those Crystal Head vodka bottles!

Buccaneers and Ball Gowns said...

Thanks for this neat info. I have been wanting that skull vodka for quite a while now as they have it at a store near me. However, it is pretty spendy, so I will have to save up my pennies!

the wild magnolia said...

Okay, this is really great, I laughed and laughed about you and the Woo Woo Martini, which btw, I will make.

Good information, fun and useful!

Blessings dear heart!

Mina said...

Bottoms up, dear friend!

cinderelly said...

my daughter bought me a bottle of that crystal head vodka. we drank it all up but i kept the bottle! i have made cranberry vodka...it was pretty good too!

~*Gumbo Soul*~ said...

This??? Is AWESOME!