Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alcohol #1

"In cold weather like this," said the innkeeper of a Gastwirtschaft further down, "I recommend Himbeergeist." I obeyed and it was a lightning conversion. Spirits of raspberries, or their ghost--this crystalline distillation, twinking and ice-cold in its misty goblet, looked as though it were homoeopathically in league with the weather. Sipped or swallowed, it went shuddering through its new home and branched out in patterns--or so it seemed after a second glass--like the ice-ferns that covered the window panes, but radiating warmth and happiness instead of cold, and carrying a ghostly message of comfort to the uttermost fimbria. Fierce winters gave birth to their antidotes: Kummel, Vodka, Aquavit, Danziger Goldwasser. Oh for a thimble full of cold north! Fiery-frosty potions, sequin-flashers rife with spangles to spark fuses in the bloodstream, revive fainting limbs, and send travellers rocketing on through snow and ice. White fire, red cheek, heat me and speed me.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts