Excerpted from Nectar of the Gods by By Liv Albert and Thea Engst Illustrated by Sara Richard. Copyright © 2022 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Image Credit: Sara Richard . Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Circe’s Potent Potion
Circe was a powerful sorceress most famous for her role in the Odyssey, wherein she transformed Odysseus’s men into pigs when they arrived on her island uninvited. Circe was a goddess born of the sun god Helios and the Oceanid Perseis (both Titans and therefore very powerful), making her an important deity well beyond her interactions with Odysseus. Still, Circe’s most interesting myth lies in that epic poem when Odysseus and his men land on the island of Aiaia, where Circe lived alongside some nymphs and her pets, wolves and lions (Circe really lived a dream life). When strange men arrived on her island, she welcomed them into her palace and gave them something to drink…a potion that transformed them into pigs. Eventually Odysseus had her transform the men back and they stayed on her island for a year before Circe provided them with vital instructions on how to (finally) get back to Ithaca (including a road trip to the Underworld!). Without Circe, Odysseus would’ve died out on the wine-dark sea.
Circe’s Potent Potion is just that: potent, though it will not transform you into a pig. The cocktail is inspired by that famed wine-dark sea and imbued with the sweet and bitter nature of the brilliant and powerful witch-goddess.
1 dried hibiscus flower
2 ounces cabernet sauvignon
1 ounce brandy
3⁄4 ounce Luxardo Bitter Bianco
1⁄2 ounce lemon juice
1⁄2 ounce Honey Syrup
1 While you watch the swirling sea off the coast of (fictional) Aiaia, fill a king cube tray halfway (or use several regular cubes if you prefer). Allow to freeze about 6 hours, then add the dried hibiscus and fill with water to freeze another 6 hours. Once frozen, place it in a stemmed kylix (a wine glass).
2 Combine all the potion’s ingredients in a psykter (a shaker) with ice. Shake well, imbuing it with whatever of Circe’s magic you can muster before you strain it over the hibiscus ice cube. Enjoy in the company of a nice Greek man who just can’t seem to make his way home.