If you're into thinkin' and drinkin'

Episode 49: Left Me Standing Alone – Blue Moon

Clearly the Blue Moon is named after the song, right? Nope, and if you run through the other references to blue moons it probably isn’t any of those either. Don’t try to figure it out, just drink it.

The first place it is printed in a cocktail book is in Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1917) by Hugo R. Ensslin. However, it may have actually been the work of Joel Rinaldo, a proprietor of a Bohemian café during the early 1900s. Rumor has it that the Blue Moon was sort of a signature drink in this haven for artists, writers, entertainers, and revolutionaries. According to David Wondrich, he never recorded what was in it, so we have to rely on the Ensslin recipe for this one.

There is nothing totally remarkable about this drink outside of the Crème Yvette, a purple liqueur made with violet petals, spices, a variety of berries, honey, vanilla, and other botanicals. Holy sweetness, Batman! That folks, is what the gin, lemon juice and bitters are for.

Join us as we toss around the many possibilities behind the name, and eventually give up trying to figure out why a sometimes purple drink is called a Blue Moon. We also dive into Bohemians in Europe, the “Bohemian culture” in the U.S. and how Bohemian Cafés brought together a variety of people that Americans just didn’t trust all that much.

The ingredients for the Blue Moon today are real simple:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Crème Yvette (or Crème de Violette)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

The drink was good, very tart with a strong floral taste. It wasn’t amazing for me because of the lemon juice, but I enjoyed it for the otherworldly feeling of drinking the juice of a flower.

Transition music: Cephalopod by Kevin MacLeod
Closing Music: Moon Garden by Herr Doktor

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