The next stop on our astrological cocktail journey is Taurus, the second sign of the Zodiac, which extends from April 20th through May 2oth. Taurus is represented by the famous white bull of mythology who captured Europa, the legendary Phoenician princess for whom the continent of Europe was named. Said bull pretended to be lazing innocently in Europa’s father’s verdant pasture until he whisked the princess away and carried her off to sea. He turned out to be none other than Zeus in disguise, who’d become obsessed with Europa and had formulated this plan to seduce or ravish her, the finer distinctions between those two verbs always being lost on him. Once the deed was done, Zeus wanted to commemorate the moment, so he cast the bull up into the sky in the form of a constellation. Ruled by the planet Venus, Taurus is an earth sign, and those born under it are the stable providers of the universe: calm, secure, and persistent. They also possess an undeniable elegance and have a true love for the sensual pleasures of food, drink, and luxurious comforts. Taurus travels at two speeds: picture the saintly white bull lounging in the fields, and his transformation into the one charging headlong into the sea with Europa holding onto his neck for dear life. Although they are patient, organized, and careful, Taureans can also be stubborn, vain, and just a wee bit lazy, and often display a jealous and possessive streak. Sometimes their love for the pleasures of life turns a bit more lusty, and they can be known to overindulge. They love art, music, and beautiful things, especially those that define comfort and luxury like beautiful hotels with fine bed linens. They despise being rushed, wasting money on cheap possessions, uncleanliness, dive motels, and getting up too early in the morning.
Green is the color most often associated with Taurus, so today’s cocktail definitely needed to reflect that. I began with Petty’s Island Rum, locally made at Cooper River Distillers on the Jersey side of the bridge in Camden. Petty’s Island has a distinct earthy taste that perfectly represents Taurus’ love for sensual things. It’s reminiscent of tequila and very different from most mass-produced rums. I chose Green Chartreuse next because it’s a distinctly elegant liqueur that can quickly overwhelm a cocktail if used in excess. I thought this mirrored the idea of needing to tame the side of Taurus that wants to run in the streets of Pamplona. I grabbed some limes next because they are such a perfect match for the rum and partner so well with Green Chartreuse in many famous and fabulous cocktails. They are also green, which was a bonus. I needed something sweet so I made a basil vanilla bean simple syrup. Basil has a natural affinity for anything lime related and it brought yet another green element to the drink. I added the vanilla for its warm earthiness, circling us back to similar flavors found in the rum. To finish the drink, I poured a smoky mezcal float on top. The end result is a cocktail that comes on a just a bit strong, but only for a moment, until it reveals its more refined side underneath.
Lust for Life
Add all the ingredients except the mezcal to the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake 20 seconds or until very cold. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Pour the mezcal on top of the drink allowing it to run over the back of a bar spoon. Garnish with a lime strip and a large basil leaf. Cheers to your favorite Taurus!!
*Dissolve ½ cup sugar in 1 cup of boiling water, stirring until it runs clear. Pour into a mason jar and add a split vanilla bean and several basil leaves. Steep until the syrup reaches the flavor your looking for.
Image from www.crystallinks.com