Wednesday Shakespeare: Enter Three Witches
Ahh, who knows where I’m going with this?? Yes, yes you are correct! Today’s post is about the Witches of Macbeth, the three original mean girls and powerful inspiration to the likes of Regina George, Blair Waldorf, Cirsei Lannister, and all those major bi-atches we love to hate. Let’s face it, despite some obvious differences in hair and facial waxing priorities, they all take perverse delight in goading people into doing things that ultimately have some pretty disastrous results. And they do it in much the same way, by zeroing in on weakness and figuring out exactly how to exploit it. In Macbeth, the witches use charms, spells, and prophecies to wreak absolute havoc in Macbeth’s life. They manage to persuade him to murder his king, Duncan, and to order the deaths of Banquo and his son. They also convince him of his immortality, the blind belief of which leads to his complete and total undoing.
At first glance it can be a bit confusing as to whether we are supposed to take the witches seriously. They have beards, after all, and make bizarre potions from things like “eye of newt and toe of frog,” and they speak in ridiculous rhyming couplets throughout the play. Their singsong words can seem almost comical, like nursery rhymes gone wrong. Most Shakespeare scholars warn that they are not to be taken lightly, but should be seen as utterly wicked, and representative of the very embodiment of evil. There is also a question as to whether they are merely witches, or are they meant to be seen as something more? They are called “weird” more often than they are called “witches,” leading some experts to believe that this description ties them more closely to the Old English word “wyrd,” which translated into “fate.” Could they be meant to symbolize the three fates of mythology? Of course they can, especially since the theme of fate vs. free will is such a major one in the play. The witches utter their predictions, but Macbeth makes the choice to act on them. Does fate control Macbeth’s destiny, or does he? And, more importantly, who controls ours??
For today’s cocktail, I went with a version of a ruby red grapefruit margarita that incorporated all of the elements associated with the witches’ boiling cauldron. First there is smoke, captured by Laphroaig Scotch whisky, a must for this drink because Macbeth is set in Scotland. Secondly, there’s heat, found in a homemade chili lime shrub. And there can’t be a cauldron without bubbles, accomplished with some club soda shaken right in. I went with the grapefruit to bring some red into the drink; Macbeth is, after all, one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays. I echoed the grapefruit flavor with Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur and garnished the drink with some hibiscus sea salt that starts out looking black but dissolves to red. I seldom say this about my own drinks, but I confess to absolutely loving this one! Must be the fateful combination of ingredients. Cheers everyone. Happy Wednesday!
Enter Three Witches
1½ oz Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch
1 oz Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur
1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
¾ oz chili lime shrub (my own)
1 oz club soda
Add all ingredients, including the club, to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail coupe that you’ve rimmed with salt. For my photo, I topped the drink with a hibiscus sea salt, but you could easily use it on the rim as well. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge. Enjoy!