We all knew someone growing up whose unfortunate name made us wonder what his or her parents were thinking. I always felt this way about Uranus. This is a celestial body, the third largest in the solar system and beautifully blue in color, yet it continues to be the one planet everyone is hesitant to even mention. let alone say is their favorite. It was named by a German astronomer, Johann Elert Bode, and we do actually know what he was thinking. Since Saturn was the mythological father of Jupiter, he thought it only right that the next planet in line should be the father of Saturn. Hence the name Uranus, who was actually the Greek god of the sky. Astronomer Bode had no idea that he was subjecting Uranus to an eternity of suffering through middle school jokes. Like its neighbor, Neptune, Uranus is considered to be an ice giant, whose mass consists mainly of icy fluids that surround a 9,000 degree rocky core, despite the fact that its surface is even colder than Neptune in some places. Uranus’ windy atmosphere is made up hydrogen, helium, ammonia, and methane, with the latter giving the planet its signature color as the sun shines through it. One day on Uranus lasts 17 hours, prompting me to now think that most planets are better for coffee drinkers, but its orbit around the sun takes 84 Earth years. It also rotates on its axis at a 90 degree angle to its orbit around the sun, giving it a kind of a wobble that’s reminiscent of a ball rolling in a circle. This almost sideways rotation creates seasonal extremes: winter on Uranus lasts for 21 years and is in darkness the entire time! In terms of moons and rings, Uranus has 27 and 11 respectively, although the rings are very faint and not nearly as spectacular as Saturn’s. Between, the temperature and seasonal extremes, the lack of any true surface, and the toxic atmosphere, Uranus has no potential for life as we know it, yet it has been the destination for the TV show Doctor Who and the video game Mass Effect.
Astrologically speaking, Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius. Oh, is that any surprise at all?? Uranus is the champion of open-mindedness and forward thinking for every sign of the zodiac, dismissing tradition, and celebrating all things innovative and original. For today’s cocktail, I chose gin as a my base spirit because I wanted to go with something cold and clear to represent the planet’s icy personality. I needed a bluish-green aesthetic, so I paired blue curaçao and green chartreuse, a very unlikely combination that probably had each of them asking, “really, I’m with her??” Call it a celebration of the unconventional. I added just a small amount of simple syrup to bump up the sweetness, and some lemon juice to balance the sweeter components. This was a surprisingly pleasant cocktail. The Bluecoat gin provided a nice citrusy backbone, and the blue curaçao and green Chartreuse got along famously. Think oranges and herbs… maybe not such an odd combination after all. Cheers, everyone! Please tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you read a blog post about Uranus today. Hey, at least you don’t have to say you wrote one…
The Ice Giant
Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a cocktail shaker and shake until very cold. Double strain into a cocktail glass and top with the club soda. Sugar rim garnish. Enjoy!