(Guest Blogging for Thirsty Camel Cocktails today is none other than my firstborn daughter, Wendy, who did not trust me to give a fair representation of the sign of Virgo since I happen to be one…)
Imagine growing up under the watchful eye of a woman who is infuriatingly right about everything, all of the time. A woman who color coordinates her closet, alphabetizes her bookshelves, meticulously organizes her spice cabinet, draws aggressive red lines through grammar mistakes in your grade school papers, and always asks the tough questions, like “Did you bother to look in the mirror today?”
Welcome to life with a Virgo.
Most astrologers describe Virgos as hypercritical, over-analyzing, pedantic neat freaks with a penchant for masochistic self-sacrifice. Most Virgos, in keeping with their argumentative natures, vehemently disagree with such a characterization and unleash a torrent of their trademark trenchant verbiage in an effort to gently remind their critics that, in fact, they are simply misunderstood and underappreciated. As the daughter of one of these contradictory creatures, I’m here to set the record straight:
Virgos are hard to get along with.
But that’s not all there is to the story. Born August 23rd-September 22nd, Virgos are nothing if not complicated, as evidenced by the ambiguity of their mythological origins. Essentially, Virgo is an amalgamation of many different “maidens,” all of whom value justice, purity, and harmony above all else. Finding it impossible to preserve these virtues on Earth, the maidens took to the sky instead. This search for perfection is at the core of a Virgo’s personality. When dealing with these prickly people, it’s important to remember that they are far more critical of themselves than they are of anyone else, and that the more they pick you apart, the more they care about you and want what’s best for you.
I try to remind myself of this when my mom casts a disparaging eye around my messy apartment and at my wrinkled clothing, chastises me for loading the dishwasher incorrectly, or laments my sloppy towel folding. It should come as no surprise that I have perfected the art of the eye roll.
But enough with all the criticism and nitpicking…oh how the tables have turned, Mom. As an Earth sign, Virgos are lauded for their compassion for all living things, their sensitivity, their humility, and their practicality. Ruled by the planet Mercury, Virgo is known for being incredibly intelligent, quick-witted, and perceptive, with an admirable command of the spoken and written word. Appearance-wise, they usually present as demure, refined, and polished, preferring clean, classy basics to extravagant statement pieces. However, don’t let their moniker fool you; their inherent modesty belies a perfectly timed sense of humor concerning all topics unfit for virgin ears.
Due to their attention to detail and their love of learning, Virgos are also multi-talented. As I often complain to my friends, my mom is capable of doing almost anything, and doing it well. This Virgo perfectionism leaves me feeling like I have a lot to live up to, especially since my only talents seem to be reading books and taking naps. For example, my mom can cook Thanksgiving dinner, install a tile floor, paint like a pro at those Painting with a Twist places, impeccably decorate a room, draw perfectly straight lines without a ruler, make conversation with a two-year old, care for a sick cat, understand medical terms like cardiac ablation and pulmonary hypertension, plant a thriving garden (Virgo’s color is green), use karate to defend herself, read computer code, throw a football, and create and photograph exquisite cocktails (obviously). I could go on and on. Virgos don’t do anything half-way.
Ultimately, Virgos are misunderstood and underappreciated, as much as it galls me to admit it. The prim and proper, hypochondriacal school marm cliché is definitely one aspect of the Virgo personality, more prominent in some than in others. But this caustic, drill sergeant exterior masks a delicate, sensitive interior, where Virgo hides their need to be reassured, appreciated, and acknowledged for all the ways that they try to make life a little easier for their loved ones. One thing is for sure: a Virgo will never tell you to stop being so sensitive.
So as you can imagine then, growing up with a mother whose tendency to be right about everything, all of time, makes her the absolute best person to ask for advice. A woman who paints your nails with the precision and patience of a professional manicurist, carefully glues the pieces of a broken mug back together because you can’t bear to throw it away, gently transports bugs back outside, cooks elaborate multi-course meals for your birthdays, and always asks the important questions, like “Are you sure this is a good idea?” (nope) and “Is there any way I can help you?” (always).
Ok this is where the prickly and persnickety Virgo takes over again to tell you about the cocktail I made for my fellow maidens of the Zodiac. All this time I thought I was as cuddly as a koala bear. Who knew I was really a porcupine? Thank you, Wendy, for such a loving tribute. She forgot to mention that I am also the resident Scrabble champion and just about impossible to beat. I had to get that in there – it really bothers her. Anyway, I wanted today’s cocktail to be layered and complex, but with an underlying simplicity. It also had to have an outwardly bristly character that gave way to warmth and sweetness underneath the surface. In order to achieve this I started with a rim on the glass that consisted of applewood sea salt and Aleppo pepper flakes, so your first sensation is smoky and downright spicy. The base of the cocktail is Rujero Singani, a Bolivian spirit that you might have to work a bit to find, but just like a “difficult” Virgo, it’s worth getting to know, I promise. The Rujero is a brandy distilled from white muscat grapes that tastes like a blend of pisco and tequila. I absolutely love it. I added in lime juice and mint syrup to make a very simple variation of a mojito, but I floated Ancho Reyes chili liqueur on top to give it an additional layer of warmth that hits you after the smokiness of the rim. It unfolds in the glass and transitions from being smoky and almost hot, to warm and spicy, until it finally ends up as bright and sweet. Wendy didn’t tell you that Virgos have a natural affinity and attraction towards one another. They usually become fast friends whose mutual respect and admiration is readily apparent. So cheers to all my fellow Virgos! We rock this Zodiac!!
Like a Virgin
Rim an old-fashioned glass with smoked salt and Aleppo pepper flakes. Add all the ingredients except the chili liqueur to at the bottom half of a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15-20 seconds or until very cold. Strain into the prepared glass over one large cube. Gently float the chili liqueur on top of the cocktail. Garnish with a mint sprig. Enjoy!
Image from www.crystalinks.com