Friday Musings: Table of Elements

Friday Musings: Table of Elements

I once read an article about technological advancement that centered around the idea that the biggest changes to come are those we can’t possibly imagine. I believe this to be true. My original career was in IT, and my first real job was in the cinder block basement of a hospital where I programmed in a computer language that was one level above those seriously annoying ones and zeros that comprise machine code. As I sat there writing spec sheets to be sent to keypunch operators, I could never have conjured up the idea that one day I would hold a device in my hand that housed an operating system capable of performing the most astonishing tasks at lightening speed. It would have been something that was truly outside the realm of my imagination. Over the years, I have thought about that article quite often, and at some point along the way I began to wonder whether we could apply its ideas to our own capabilities as human beings. What potential do we hold for reinvention? Is it possible to become that which we could never have imagined? I am certainly guilty of trying.

My career went on to evolve many times since those early days as a programmer analyst at a hospital in Philadelphia that no longer exists. Many of the job shifts that I made along the way centered around my family and being home with them as much as I possibly could. Some changes were driven by need and others by interest, but my professional life took one of its most important turns six years ago when I began writing this blog. The world of cocktails unfolded before my eyes like an amazingly complex work of origami that had been assembled by an absolute master of the craft. The subject matter seemed infinite, and I tried to create something new every single day, even in the beginning when my understanding was so limited. Eventually, making drinks became an intuitive process for me that brought me great fulfillment, and I found even more in realizing that I could link cocktails to all the ideas I had in my head about things like books, poetry, and music. Above all else, writing about cocktails became a way for me to understand life, and I appreciate all of you who take the time to read what I write so very much. If I had any disappointment, it was in the fact that very few people had the chance to actually taste my drinks, but my work at Recklesstown turned that full circle, and suddenly it all meant so much more.

While I can’t ever see myself NOT creating cocktails, I do admit to having had a bit of a dalliance with another interest during the pandemic when I spent most of my time working from home. Can you guess what it was?? If your answer was astrology, then you are spot on, and most likely not very surprised. What began as an enjoyable means of passing the time became a serious pursuit for me, and one that I threw myself into studying. I soon found out that the realm of planets, signs, and houses contains the same kind of cavernous space as the cocktail world, and I’ve wandered happily there for the past two years, immersing myself in so many archetypal ideas like purpose and identity, action and intuition, love and anger, dreams and boundaries. At some point during the course of that time, I began to entertain the notion that I might tie some of these ideas to cocktails, and I have done exactly that in a number of posts right here on this blog. I have also gained so much understanding about myself in ways that have helped me more than I could ever have expected.

By now, you might be wondering why I’m telling you all of this. The reason is twofold. For starters, I’ve told you so much about my life since 2016 that I feel like it’s a natural thing for me to also share this next step with you. Secondly, I’m offering my services. Every one of us has a birth chart that captures the energy in the sky at the moment we arrived here on this earth. By learning about that energy, we can gain an incredible amount of insight into who we fundamentally are as people and why we tend to behave in the ways that we do. Having this kind of knowledge enables us to treat ourselves and others with compassion rather than judgement. But the chart needs an interpreter, and that is the very thing that I’ve learned how to do. If you feel as though you, or someone you know, would benefit from or enjoy having a birth chart read, then I’m here for you. Will I still make cocktails for you at Recklesstown? Of course. Will I still create something for you if you have a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up? Absolutely, but Thirsty Camel Cocktails now has an alter ego known as Waning Crescent Astrology. I don’t have a website yet, but I will very soon. I do have an office, however, at Living Tree Wellness studio in Haddonfield, a business owned by my wonderful friend Julie Goeltz, to whom I will be forever grateful for giving me endlessly patient support and a beautiful space to call my own.

For today’s cocktail, I wanted to create something that relates to the idea of the four elements of fire, air, water, and earth, one of my favorite concepts in astrology. Each one of these elements has a different energy that appears in our lives in various ways, most of which we might be aware of even if we don’t entirely understand the connection. The places in our birth charts where we have fire or air signs are areas where we tend to take direct action and are quite willing to express emotions or ideas in an outward manner. Water and earth signs, on the other hand, will manifest very differently, and we will see a more passive, private, and intuitive version of ourselves in these aspects of our personalities. The four elements combine together to give us a complete picture. To represent the fire component of the cocktail, I began with a simple syrup infused with pink peppercorns. For the air element, I added some club soda to create the tiniest bit of effervescence, and I used homemade angelica bitters to create a lifting effect on the finish. To capture the idea of earth, I immediately thought of figs, which I brought into the drink both in the muddling process and in the fig and fennel infused vodka. Finally, I decided on gin as my base spirit both because its flavor profile fit so nicely with all the other ingredients, and because the idea of the vapor distillation that gin goes through in order to become infused with things like juniper and coriander was the perfect representation of water. I’m very critical of the cocktails that I make, but I loved this one and felt as though I was traveling through the four elements as I drank it. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday! Thank you for helping me grow in so many ways by writing this blog and for allowing me to indulge in a shameless bit of self promotion today. This has been a very first person narrated post, and it feels uncomfortable for me, but I know that you’ll all understand.

Table of Elements

1.5 oz gin
.75 oz fig fennel vodka
1 oz pink peppercorn simple syrup
.75 oz lime
.5 oz club soda
1 dash angelica bitters

Muddle one fig in the shaker and add other ingredients.
Long shake over ice.
Double strain into your cocktail glass of choice.
Add .5 oz of club to top.
Garnish with pink peppercorns.


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