Decanting Enchantments: Equipment Essentials

Welcome to Cocktail Magick 101! I think we are all familiar with the magical effects provided by a well-made cocktail, but you may not have pondered the potential for purposeful magick contained in that coupe! Probably the first and most enduring use of mixed spirits was for love potions, but the panoply of alcoholic ingredients available to a witch today promises a great many more purposes.

The first thing you will need to do is to gather some basic equipment. Just as the modern witch has tools representing the elements that she employs when spell-casting, she needs a similar arsenal for creating Craft cocktails.

Firstly, you will need to obtain a cocktail cauldron aka cocktail shaker. This is the womb of creation from whence your potions will pour forth! Some may prefer a two-piece Boston shaker set-up as all of the “pros” seem to do, but what is most important is that you have a shaker that you connect with. I find the Boston shaker for all of its supposed technical superiority too awkward and downright unattractive. My shaker of choice is a three-piece cobbler type in the form of a penguin that I call Pierre. Pierre feels magical in my hands and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not shaking up drinks to be appraised by cocktail nerds we are conjuring mysteries! 

Second, but probably most important is a bar measure. This may strike some as fussy, particularly if you are one of those cooks that never follow a recipe, but it is absolutely imperative in the delicate operation of making potions. A bit too much of this or too little of that and you have an unpotable disaster is a glass – not only untasty, but not calibrated for the desired effect. Please do not go around wasting ingredients with insouciance! Just like a good cocktail, a good spell needs the correct balance and this can only be achieved by measuring. This also ensures you can replicate the spell in the future. This is the measure I prefer. But there are many varieties and you should pick one that suits you and use it.

Because these concoctions are made to be imbibed we will be using lots of fresh citrus juices to provide balanced flavor as well as the magical properties of the fruit. I suggest investing in a good citrus squeezer as there is nothing more tiresome than juicing lemons and these devices make short and simple work of it.

Some elixirs will require stirring instead of shaking and for this you want a bar spoon or a dedicated cocktail wand. Bar spoons have fun spiral stems to facilitate stirring and it represents the mystical spiral of transformation, therefore injecting some additional cosmological oomph into your drink.

If you settle on a shaker that does not have a built-in strainer you’ll want to pick up a hawthorne strainer – one of those paddle-like contraptions with the slinky attached. A muddler may also prove useful for crushing herbs and fruits. Beyond that, a small cutting board and a knife will be handy and you likely already have those.

A word on ingredients – take heed, the modern liquor store can be a dizzying, wallet-gobbling place.  While you might be excited to stock your new cocktail conjurist pantry, I’d suggest you pick a particular spell and purchase the ingredients for that and start there.  Luckily each potion calls for a fairly small amount of each thing so they tend to last and your inventory will grow with your evolving skill.

A word on imbibing – I warn you at the outset – do not consume more of these potions than is prescribed in the spell, however tempting it may be, or suffer the consequences! I realize I have basically just donned a blue beard and given you a key to a forbidden room, but there it is.

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