Our next planet in the Celestial Cocktail Series is Venus, which sits between Earth and Mercury, occupying the second position from the sun. In terms of size, Venus is almost exactly the same as Earth, so if we once again compare the sun to the size of a six foot door, Earth and Venus would both be nickels. With the most circular orbit in the solar system, Venus travels around the sun every 225 Earth days in a backwards motion, from east to west, rather than west to east like every other planet except Uranus. Its orbit is the most circular in our solar system. Like Mercury, Venus’ rotation on its axis is very slow, completing each day into night cycle in 243 Earth days. Isn’t it mind boggling to think of a day or night lasting for that long? Since the atmosphere on Venus is so thick with carbon dioxide, the sun’s heat becomes trapped close to the surface where temperatures can reach almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to melt lead. That same dense atmosphere causes smaller meteoroids to burn up, so although Venus has many impact scars, most of them are quite large. The surface of Venus is dusty and rocky, and the terrain consists of mountains, valleys, flat areas, and tens of thousands of volcanoes. Most of the prominent features of Venus have been named for legendary or famous women, like the volcanic crater called Sacajawea and the deep canyon named after Diana, goddess of the hunt. One notable exception is the 20,000 foot volcanic mountain, Maxwell Montes, nearly as tall as Mount Everest and named after Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
If we were to suddenly turn into carbon dioxide breathing, heat resistant creatures, we could stand on the surface of Venus and observe that it looks like the cloudiest, haziest day on Earth. The atmosphere makes everything appear orange and feels so heavy that the pressure is the equivalent of being about 1 mile underwater. Venus has no moons, no craters, and no water source anywhere. Viewing it from the safety of Earth is quite a bit easier. It is the brightest object in the night sky, besides our moon, appearing on the horizon before dawn and traveling up for a period of time before it disappears and reemerges 50 days later in the evening sky just after sunset. Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In terms of astrology, she controls these same two elements along with fashion, dating, romance, creativity, compassion, and divine feminine energy. Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus, the most sensual sign of the Zodiac, and Libra, which strives to have endless compassion and seek permanent harmony. Like Mercury, Venus does have periods where it appears to go into a retrograde motion. These occur every 18 months and last for 6 weeks at a time and we are encouraged during these periods to take a step back from our romantic entanglements to gain perspective and develop greater appreciation.
Today’s cocktail is a riff on a whiskey sour that uses barrel finished gin and Suze as its base, two ingredients that I have found to have a natural affinity for one another, and was pleased at how well they worked with the traditional sour components in this drink. The egg white provides the cloud cover over the slightly orange underneath, so I was able to find the visual I was looking for here as well.
Morning Star, Evening Star
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously. Add the ice and shake again. Pour into an old-fashioned glass and garnish with an orange strip. Enjoy!