Celestial Cocktail #3: On Which All Life Depends
Situated between Venus and Mars, Earth sits in the third position from the sun and is the fifth largest planet in the solar system. It is a terrestial planet, along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars, defined by its molten metal core, and a surface comprised of variable features like volcanoes, mountains, and valleys. It travels around the sun in 365.25 days and spins on its own axis every 24 hours, far more practical than the day/night cycle on Venus where you’ll wait 243 days for your morning coffee. We’ve finally discovered the real reason behind why life is not sustainable there! That extra .25, by the way, is why we add an extra day every 4 years and we call it Leap Year. Earth is slightly tilted on its axis which means that a portion of the planet is farther away from the sun for part of the year, and part of it is closer, giving us our seasons. Aside from the fact that we get to drink our coffee in a timely manner, Earth is also friendly to human life forms because of its atmosphere, temperature, and its vast water supply. The air we breathe is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases. File away that nitrogen tidbit; it shows up in Trivia games and on Jeopardy all the time. This particular atmospheric mixture affects our local weather patterns and our more global climate trends. It also shields us from the sun’s radiation and protects us from meteoroids which burn up before they can collide with our surface. These are the very factors that are affected by global warming, which is not fake news, and they are the reasons why the difference between Venus, Mars, and Earth is called the Goldilocks principle. Venus has too much greenhouse effect, Mars has too little, Earth is just right. For now.
Our planet’s surface is indeed variable, with massive mountain ranges and an enormous number of volcanoes, 70% of which are under water. The largest of these is Mauna Kea in Hawaii which is actually taller than Mount Everest from base to peak. Earth’s largest mountain range is also underwater and is 4 times longer than the Andes, Rockies, and Himalayas combined. I don’t know about you, but I often have this delusional way of thinking that the ocean floor is flat. It’s always amazing for me to consider it as being just the opposite! Earth also has a lithosphere, comprised of its crust and upper mantle, that is divided into huge plates that are constantly moving at about the rate at which our fingernails grow. When these plates grind against or slide over one another, earthquakes occur, in much the same way as they do at a dance club where that same activity is happening. Earth is the only planet that has only one moon, and it is the largest and brightest feature of our night sky. Despite the fact that it looks like we can reach out and touch it, our moon is farther away than we realize: 30 Earth-sized planets can fit in between us. And finally, one of my favorite Earth facts has to do with its magnetic field. Because of its rapid rotation and its molten nickel and iron core, Earth is powerfully magnetized and it attracts charged particles from the sun’s solar winds. These particles get trapped and pulled into our magnetic field and cause the wonderful display known as the Northern and Southern lights! Seeing them is a major item on my bucket list. If you can make this happen for me, I will love you forever.
Earth is the only planet in our solar system that is not named for a Roman god or goddess. Its name is derived from an old German and English word that simply means ground. There’s a reason for this. For many, many years Earth was thought to be the center of the universe. It is also one of the 4 elements, along with water, air, and fire. The theory went something like this: earth was the base, water flowed over it, air circulated above it, and fire shot up through the air and into the quintessance (don’t you just love that word) where the celestial spheres resided and were worthy of such lofty names. Even after the sun was discovered to be at the universe’s center, and Earth was reimagined as one of those celestial spheres, it was never reassigned a more appropriate name. Although it does not rule any astrological sign, as one of the 4 elements it does affect 3 signs in particular (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) that are said to be the most loyal and stable, are extremely practical and grounded, and have the most solid foundation. They are considerd to be the Earth signs of the zodiac.
For today’s cocktail, I really focused on the visual aesthetic of the drink. I wanted blue and green, so Blue Curaçao was just about the only way to get there. I used vodka as my base because I wanted a neutral spirit, and I added a grapefruit shrub and grapefruit juice to offset some of the Curaçao’s sweetness. This worked so well that it allowed me to also bring in a simple syrup that I infused with some herbs from my garden. The etched-fish glasses were perfection and I’ve been wanting to use them in a blog post in the worst way. They were a gift from someone who knew I would love them. What better way to celebrate a planet whose surface is 70% water? This drink is total fun. Serve it in shot glasses like these, or up in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks with a splash of soda on top. Cheers everyone!
On Which All Life Depends
2 oz Stateside vodka
1 oz Blue Curaçao
1 oz Liber & Co grapefruit shrub
1 oz herbal simple syrup
1 oz grapefruit juice
Add all the ingredients to the cocktail shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Double strain into shot glasses, a cocktail glass, or a Collins glass over ice. Enjoy!