Sorrow, betrayal, heartbreak, disillusionment, pain, loss, grief…these are all embodied by the Three of Swords, one of the most dreaded cards in the tarot deck. Yet without sorrow, there is no joy, without loss, no gain; the bitter truths of life. While these experiences are never welcome, they are inevitable and if we can work through them faster or make getting to the other side a bit easier, so much the better. Thus the following potion, both bitter and sweet, designed to soothe and guide you through whatever misery is at hand.
The Three of Swords
2 oz. bourbon – made from corn, bourbon has notes of sweet things like vanilla and maple syrup
1 oz sweet vermouth – sweet vermouth has both bitter and sweet elements and the word “vermouth” is derived from the German word for wormwood, “vermut”
.25 oz bitter liqueur – I used Picon but feel free to use an amaro or what you have on hand, so long as it’s got some bitter elements
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 large cocktail cherry – I like to make my own from dried cherries soaked in brandy. The dried and pitted cherries once they’ve soaked up the brandy have a satisfying raggedy, heart-like look
3 cocktail swords
Begin by inserting the three cocktail swords into the cherry to resemble the three of swords card. As you do this, visualize the pain and heartbreak that you are seeking to assuage, how these swords represent this pain and the cherry is your heart. Once this is done, place it into your chalice.
Fill your cocktail cauldron a third full of ice and pour in the bourbon, vermouth, bitter liqueur and Angostura. Using your cocktail wand, stir the contents widdershins, or counterclockwise, while chanting:
“Bitter wormwood and sweet corn
wrap around my heart forlorn
heal these wounds of pain so deep
and I’ll no more have cause to weep”
Then, using a strainer, pour the potion into the chalice over the heart, repeating the incantation.
Now, take your elixir to a comfortable chair and sip it, meditating on the mingled flavors of bitter and sweet and how in perfect balance they are a metaphor for life’s sorrows as well as joys. When you have finished the liquid, remove a sword from the cherry stating: “Sadness, I banish thee from my heart!”; remove another sword from the cherry intoning: “Grief, I banish thee from my heart!”; and remove the last sword from the cherry stating: “Sorrow, I banish thee from my heart!” and then eat the delicious cherry, relishing your newfound freedom and balance. Repeat as needed.