Although we generally lean towards arcane cocktails of subtle and complex composition on this site, we admit that there is a time and place for beer.
The ideal time and place is Oktoberfest in Germany. Beginning as a celebration for the wedding of Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1810, this has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, especially popular in China. Everybody loves beer!
Ludwig I found out for himself just how much everybody loves beer when he decided to tax it, a fantastically unpopular decision which sparked the Beer Riots of 1844. These were only resolved when beer prices were slashed, allowing the country to settle back contentedly and clink steins to celebrate.
As Oktoberfest takes place in tents and there is an awful lot of bread knocking around, mainly in the form of pretzels – given its mass popularity, it would appear the satirical Roman poet Juvenal was right:
“The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things — bread and circuses!”
Add beer and a lot of massive Würstl sausages to that, pop on a Tirolerhüte – the traditional hat which demonstrates your wealth by the number of chamois hair tufts decorating it – and you will be getting properly into the Oktoberfest spirit.
Here at the coven we have been known to knock back the odd frosty Maßkrug of lager, but we prefer to draw a veil over our subsequent behaviours.
For my own personal celebration of this holiday, I will therefore be making a Lagerita, which combines Germanic and Mexican cultures to the best effect since legendary Bavarian scientist Alexander von Humboldt discovered that bat guano could be used as a crop fertilizer during a trip to Acapulco in 1803.
The classic Margarita is frequently served with a side glass of beer, so this is just taking a logical step further and making it an integral part of the drink.
1 shot tequila
1 shot triple sec
1 shot lime juice
Lager beer to top up.
Combine tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a chilled shaker and serve in a large chilled glass rimmed with salt. Top up with cold lager.
I used black and pink salt for the glass rim, because they tend to have exotic salts by the checkout at TK Maxx when I go, and I have little to no willpower.
If you want to go full frosty, you could make the frozen version. Freeze the beer in ice cube trays, then blend into a slush as you would for The Last Frozé of Summer. Add the other ingredients to the blender when the frozen beer is totally slushed, and give it another whizz.
After you drink a couple of these, or even if you decide to stick to the classics and pump a mug full of suds, you may wish to indulge in some traditional beer-drinking rituals.
Chants of “Down in one, down in one, down in oooone!” or “Chug, chug, chug!” are popular, or you could take Mexican-Germanic relations as your theme and combine a Mexican Wave (where you stand up quickly one after another and raise your hands in the air as if you just don’t care) with Schunkeln (where you link arms and sway to and fro on the spot).
Make a mental picture of Quetzalcoatl – the Aztec god of wind and learning – and Wodan – the Germanic Thor – attempting the Gangnam Style dance together to get on the right track.
A couple of choruses of “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” and “La Cucaracha”, and you will be truly united nations.
When you get to the talking very seriously part of the evening later, you may be inspired by these further gems from Juvenal. Toga optional.
“If your stars go against you, the fantastic size of your cock will get you precisely nowhere, however much Virro may have drooled at the spectacle of your naked charms, though love-letters come in by the dozen, imploring your favors.”
“But who will guard the guardians themselves?”
“But you will soon pay for it, my friend, when you take off your clothes, and with distended stomach carry your peacock into the bath undigested! Hence a sudden death, and an intestate old age; the new and merry tale runs the round of every dinner-table, and the corpse is carried forth to burial amid the cheers of enraged friends!”
“Honesty is praised and starves.”