Hello, wonderful witches!
A very happy my birthday to you! I’m wearing a new fiery colored shirt to celebrate my Leo-ness, and tonight we’re going out to get my favorite food as of late, khachapuri. It’s a Georgian (the country) bread boat filled with cheese with an egg cracked onto it. So delicious.
For my birthday gift from my fiancé, he continued to win my heart by building a ramp for my sweet Boston terrier Ollie to easily get on and off the bed. Ollie is 15 and has degenerative myelopathy, so he can’t jump up too high anymore. But that doesn’t stop him from having the best life ever! Here’s a photo of him from his birthday party back in June.
OK, now to the newsletter content for the day. Today is the Feast of Pomona! There’s more information below about what that is and how to celebrate, along with a cocktail recipe. For you paid subscribers, you’re also going to get a separate email with even MORE information, and a quick meal you can make for the day.
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A Kiss of Ambrosia for the Feast of Pomona
By Roxanne Read
According to our modern-day calendar, the Autumnal Equinox is in late September and marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. But for the Romans, the Autumnal Equinox marked the mid-point of Autumn. Early August was the beginning of Autumn, and what did Romans do best to celebrate the season? They frolicked! At the start of Autumn, the fall harvest jollification and general hullabaloo began.
The 13th of August marked the start of an entire day of feasting (in true Roman style) and a dedication to the Roman goddess of fruit, Pomona, the Patron Deity of Apple Orchards.
Her story unfolds rather differently from your typical Roman mythological tale, which is drenched in infidelity and general misconduct. One day, this exquisite nymph was tending to her gardens while wearing a crown of fruits, and as she did, she was spotted by the young and handsome Vertumnus, the God of the Changing Seasons. His immediate lust for her consumed him and his pursuit began. It took several attempts on Vertumnus’ behalf, changing his disguise to a fisherman, a soldier, a peasant, and finally, an old woman before Pomona succumbed to his constant wooing of her, and they fell deeply in love. From that day onwards, they were inseparable. The first Roman love story sans infidelity and deceit was written, and the apple became the symbol of true love and passion.
About the drink
To honor this love story and stay true to the Roman tradition of celebrations, I have created a cocktail fit for a feast of love. I call it A Kiss of Ambrosia to represent true love’s immortality.
The star of the show, the apple and apple magic, has been a familiar ingredient in a witch’s kitchen since the beginning of time. Synonymous with love, health, and longevity, this sacred fruit of goddesses has a natural five-pointed star in its center. It’s budded the “red-hearted mistress” of literary symbolism, which lends to the reasons why its magical properties have been explored extensively. You’ll find slices of apples surrounding the Empress card in a tarot spread to help with fertility. The drinking and spilling of freshly squeezed apple juice during rituals is used to ask for the gift of insight. Bury an apple with a jar of your vice to fight off addiction, or toss them into a pot with cinnamon sticks, ginger, and allspice to make a potent love elixir.
In this recipe, we’ll be featuring red apples, the highlight of the Autumn harvest fruits. The apple has so many meanings but finds its roots in love spells. They are also an omen of abundance and eternal life.
Figs find their way into our brew, as well. Grown all year round, they are at their most plump, flavorful, aromatic, and (dare I say) moist towards mid-August. Believed to be a gift of fertility from the Gods, we use figs for love and fertility spells.
Cherry tomatoes are an unexpected but welcome guest to this party in a glass. If you want to attract your true love, let a tomato ripen on your windowsill, then eat the juicy fruit and allow love and prosperity into your life in abundance.
When we think of Autumn, we think of a deep rich palate and blends of oranges, reds, purples, and browns. It’s a time of bold, warm baked flavors like apples and blackberries. But for many, August is a time for summer afternoons spent outdoors. With this in mind, I wanted to celebrate Autumn’s treasures in a light summery way. I’ve created a subtle, fresh sparkling drink that can be presented in single servings. Or, invite your coven over and serve it in a punch bowl.
A Kiss of Ambrosia
4 to 6 maple-roasted tomato chunks (recipe below)
4 to 6 maple-roasted fig chunks (recipe below)
60 milliliters vodka (I recommend Titos)
1 squeeze lemon
80 milliliters dry apple cider
100 milliliters sparkling red apple juice
100 milliliters soda water, or tonic if you want a bit more sweetness
Directions for the Tomato and Fig Chunks
Cut 1 cup of cherry tomatoes into halves and 1 cup of over-ripe figs into medium-sized cubes. Place them uncovered on a baking tray and pop them in the oven on high heat for 30 minutes.
Take the tray out and prep maple syrup by making a 1:1 ratio of warm water and maple liquid. Lightly drizzle the maple mixture over the fruit and pop them back into the oven. Slowly roast them on low heat for about 30 minutes, then remove them and allow them to cool.
Note: You can keep the mixture in a jar in your fridge or add a bunch of sugar, cook them down, and make a jam.
Directions for the Cocktail
Into a shaker, add the chunks of tomato and figs. Lightly press them into the bottom of the shaker to release the juices and open up the fruit flavors.
Add the vodka and a squeeze of lemon.
Add ice to the shaker and shake hard.
If you want to be decadent, now is the time to prep your serving glass by taking an apple slice and rubbing half the rim of the glass so it’s wet from the juice. Then dip the rim in edible gold dust to create a gold-rimmed glass.
Half-fill your serving chalice with cubed ice and single strain the shaker into the glass.
Next, layer apple cider, sparkling apple juice, and soda water, in that order.
Garnish the drink by floating a dried red apple slice on top and sprinkling some gold fairy dust (edible glitter) over the top.
Note: If you’re creating the punch-style version, grab a bowl you want to use and add 1 cup of the fruits into it. Gently press them down to release the juices. Next, add 240 milliliters of vodka, juice from half a lemon, 320 milliliters dry apple cider, 400 milliliters sparkling apple juice, and 400 milliliters of soda or tonic. Stir up the broth before adding ice and floating a couple of slices of dried apple on top.
Serve, sip, dance, and enjoy!
Roxanne Read is a South African global mixologist with 14 years of bar experience in all aspects of the industry. Her passion is to create art through the craft of cocktails and take people on a conceptual journey through the theater and flavor experience of these elixirs. She believes this world is a magical place and brews her drinks with touch of magic.
In the next issue…
Paid subscribers, watch your inbox today for more Feast of Pomona fun. The next newsletter will have… well, I’m not sure yet. We’ll find out together!
See you then!
Happy birthday to you! Enjoy your khachapuri. :)
Our late pup, Pippin, was an old gentleman, too, with special needs as well - he had diabetes and a host of other issues, but was still enjoying living, so we took care of him (turning our home into a doggie nursing home!) until he died a bit after his 17th birthday. I wish your sweet Ollie many more years of happiness.