“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence, my friends call it” – Edgar Allan Poe
As April Fool’s Day descends, you can fall into one of two categories. The Fool, or the Non-Fool.
If you wish to be thought so little of a fool that nobody would try to fool you for a second, not even if it was the foolingest day of the year and they had an electrified fooling machine, try to emulate the owl.
The owl is a foolish bird even by bird standards, with a brain the size of a salted peanut. But it has gained a reputation for wisdom through having the appearance of a large face and head, and by virtue of using plain hooting in place of trills or chirps.
It even gained a place in mythology as the sacred creature of the goddess of wisdom Minerva, so really appearances are everything in the bird world.
They’ll take you an awfully long way in the human world too, but if you find that your brilliant plan of looking plate-faced and occasionally emitting low hoots isn’t gaining you a cool rep as a deep thinker, you may like to try this brain-boosting cocktail.
When drinking for health benefits, brandy is always handy. It has been used throughout history as a medicine, thought to ward off everything from pneumonia to the plague. Even now, some of the older generation still keep a bottle of brandy in the house “in case of sickness”.
Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, it can help increase immunity and relieve inflammation – Edgar Allan Poe enjoyed it for its stimulating qualities. Give up brandy? Nevermore!
The traditional Sidecar cocktail contains brandy, orange liqueur and lemon juice, which is a great start on your road to brilliance. The vitamins you need to improve your memory and powers of reasoning are vitamins A, E & C, which are found in citrus fruit.
For this version, we will add blackberries. Highly nutritious and low in calories, they also add valuable fibre to your beverage. This is excellent for your digestion and prevents a blood sugar spike which otherwise the sweeter elements might induce.
The sweetness of the orange element has its own value. A “sugar high” is exhilarating and increases mental performance, so don’t use too dry a Curacao or Triple Sec option.
These liqueurs, being derived from orange peel as well as oranges are most therapeutic. The ancients knew the fruit as both a food and a medicine – essential oils have been extracted from orange peels since the fruit was first cultivated, specifically for digestive issues. Orange peel and pulp contain a flavonoid which lowers cholesterol, and are rich in pectin, which is an aid to immunity.
As the blackberries have a tart quality and are being combined with lemon, I recommend a mandarin/lemon juice mix in place of the traditional lemon, and I’m adding some syrup to take the edge away and add to that sugar high.
Wise Old Owl Sidecar
1 shot of brandy
½ shot of orange liqueur
½ shot agave or simple sugar syrup
Juice of half a mandarin
Juice of half a lemon
Muddle half the blackberries in a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake it hard- this is good exercise, which will release endorphins to get your brain activity started before you even start drinking.
Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with the rest of the blackberries. It would be charming but not strictly necessary for you to have gathered these off a bush yourself. I found these blackberries growing in Epping Forest and froze them for just such an occasion as this. See, forward thinking. Smart. Also, free fruit!
Serve with a side of owl-brain-sized peanuts, and pop a couple of ginseng and guarana tablets so that your cognitive functions will really get jazzed up.
Get your beak around that.
Your mother didn’t raise no fools!
Happy April Fools Day 🙂