We pay our last respects to True Blood’s final season with a week of drinks almost as delicious as Sookie’s Fairy Blood.
Get ready for a tasty trip back in time as we explore drinks your favorite vampires would’ve quaffed before they were turned.
Godric (Turned around 10 BCE)
While Godric was born in Gaul (modern France and Belgium), he only spent a few years in his homeland before being captured by invading Romans. He grew up a Roman slave during one of the most brutal, tumultuous periods in Roman history. As a boy, he would’ve lived through Julius Caesar’s assassination, the power struggle of the Triumverate, and the civil war between Caesar’s nephew Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus) and Cleopatra’s lover, Mark Antony. By the time the dust settled from the Roman civil war, Godric was turned into a vampire by his brutal owner.
Despite having access to the best public water system the world had ever seen, smart Romans didn’t drink straight water. It just wasn’t safe. Instead, their everyday drink was 1 part thick, strong, syrupy red wine cut with 4 parts water.
Roman wine was considerably sweeter than what we drink today. Imagine a red wine with the same sweetness as a German Riesling. In addition to being sweeter, their wines were astoundingly thicker than what we drink today. They commonly store their wine in pitch or tar lined amphora (ceramic jugs). Before serving, they’d mix the tar into the wine to give it a little extra body. Yes, sometimes it seems like all Roman food was based on a dare. To put the tar-wine mix into perspective, the Roman version of ketchup was made from fermented fish heads left buried in a pit for six months at a time.
As a young slave boy in Rome, Godric would’ve had a cup of watered wine with every meal. Serving kids plain water was a good way to give your children crippling diarrhea. As a slave, his master would’ve considered that a bad investment.
Godric’s Saturnalia Cocktail
On special occasions, the Romans liked to spice up their wine – literally. They didn’t have what we think of as cocktails, but they did enjoy kicking back in celebration with a cup of strong, spiced, sweetened wine. You can too.
– 1 750 ml bottle of sweet Red Wine
– 1 cup Honey
– 4 chopped Dates
– 1 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
– 1 teaspoon fresh ground Cinnamon
– 1 dried Bay Leaf
– Pinch Saffron
Pour ½ cup of wine into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Next, add the chopped dates and all the spices. If you can’t afford saffron, don’t worry. A lot of Romans couldn’t afford it, either. They typically just added the rest of the cinnamon stick they’d just grated or whatever sweet spice they had lurking in the kitchen.
Give the wine and spice mixture a good stir then reduce the heat to medium and put a lid on the pot. Let it simmer for about half an hour. This gives the spices time to really leach all their flavor into the wine. When you come back, strain all the solids out of the wine.
Now pour the strained wine back in the saucepan and add the cup of honey. Keep stirring until all the honey is melted. Once you have a viscous, sweet mess, thin it out by adding the rest of your wine. Give it all a hearty stir so the flavors are well blended. Admire the bizarre thickness. It’s like you’ve made alcoholic candy.
You can serve it warm in the winter or let it cool down and serve it chilled in the summer. Most Romans drank it at room temperature, just like everything else in their lives.
After a couple sips, don’t be shy about asking if you can try mixing one part wine with three parts water for a different authentic Roman experience. Their idea of a fun party drink has all the subtlety of a Cadbury creme egg and darn near the same texture. It’s no wonder Godric preferred drinking blood.
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