“She was a wild, wicked slip of a girl. She burned too bright for this world.”
For June, Lauren and I decided we would dedicate each week to an era in time that made an impact on being a woman and how society sees women. So let’s take it back, all the way back to a time that would make the modern-day lady squirm in her boots! The Victorian age, or the 1800s.
The role of the woman can not get any more traditional, which we now see as subdued and oppressed in this modern world. Husband-seeking, baby-making, uneducated, “know your place” type was the brush the Victorian woman was painted with. However, through the scrolls of suppression came a glimmer of light.
Cue Emily Bronte and Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, a novel written in 1847, now considered a cult classic. It follows the epic tale of love and revenge, a story of elegance and brutality that heroines Catherine, a woman whose rebellion against the norms of Victorian femininity neutered her from any claim to the womanly attraction expected of the time. This novel strongly shows the brutalizing influence of unchecked passion, through domestic violence, alcoholism, child abuse, neglect, sexual obsession, and torture, it’s pretty unmerciful!
However, we need to step away from the story and have a look at the author and what a piece of writing like this did for the truth about women of the times. Emily Bronte was an introvert who had no intention of fame or recognition but rather wanted to express a world of unspoken truth. The fact that she wrote this tale is an ode to the strength and complexity of suppressed women. She was more than encouraged to publish her work by her sisters and so the unstoppable trio of the Bronte sisters changed the course of history for women.
A Tribute to Our Sisters
I have chosen to take a drink, being port, that was typically drunk by men in those times and infuse it with a potent dose of creativity, passion, and a zest for the unconventional. This drink is a tribute to the influence of Emily Bronte.
Ruby port-soaked strawberries represent a love corrupted by an unexpressed and crushed passion. Gin, which was used in a form that we wouldn’t recognize today, was a flavour of the times, spiced with cayenne pepper to bring through the risky bite of the unpredictable nature displayed by the women involved in this story, both in front and behind the pages.
“I’m not going to act the lady among you, for fear I should starve.”
Terror Made Me Cruel
- ½ of cup port-soaked strawberries
- 20ml of Ruby Port
- 30ml of Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 3 of grinds black pepper
- 20ml of cayenne pepper syrup
- 5ml of fresh-pressed lemon juice
- 60ml of grapefruit juice
Road to Liberty
Port-Soaked Strawberries: Cut a palate of strawberries into chunks and soak them for over 48 hours in a dark warm cupboard in a ruby port of your choice. This is also great as a side for ice cream or cream later, so maybe make extra as a sneaky boozy treat!
Cayenne Pepper Syrup: What you will do now is make a standard sugar syrup by slowly bringing to a simmer 1 cup of white sugar, and 1 cup of water. Stir to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Add 1 tbs of cayenne pepper into the mixture and stir it in thoroughly.
Lemon Pepper: For the garnish, we will need to grind about 4 tbs of black peppercorns onto a side plate or saucer. Squeeze about 8 drops of a half lemon over the pepper. Give is a bit of a toss and allow it to dry in the sun. Pour the pepper into a jar with a lid once it is dry and give it a good shake to make sure it is back to free moving granules.
Garnish: Lemon Pepper Half Rim
For the main event
- First, we need to prep the glass. Cut a lemon into a wedge and run it along the rim of the glass, leaving an even, moist layer of juice lining the glass rim.
2. Lightly dip the rim into the lemon-pepper granules you made earlier. Give the glass a light shake to get rid of any excess granules and put it in the fridge to get frosty!
3. Onto the libation, into a shaker, lightly muddle your soaked strawberries to extract the juices.
4. Next add the port, gin, black pepper, lemon, and grapefruit juice.
5. Half fill your shaker with cubed ice and give it a 20 – 30-second shake.
6. Double Strain into your chilled, prepped coupe glass.