The Serpent’s Tooth, like the name suggests, is a cocktail with a bite. With spicy liqueurs, bitters and a dash of tart lemon juice, it definitely packs a punch.
The origins of its name is uncertain. Some presume it to be borrowed from Shakespeare’s King Lear (“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”). Others claim that since the drink has Irish roots, it is an allusion to the legend of St. Patrick.
And as we get close to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, let us tell you a little about the myth attached with this drink. St. Patrick was a Romano-British Christian bishop and missionary in fifth-century Ireland. A popular folklore maintains that he banished all the snakes from the country, after they attacked him on a hill-top. He was enduring a 40-day fast at the time, and in defense, managed to chase every snake into the sea. No snake has ever been sighted in all of Ireland since the episode.
However, all evidence reveals that Ireland has never been home to snakes at all. Regardless, the tale is an entertaining one, and continues to be passed down generations. St. Patrick’s Day is observed to mark the passing away of this legendary saint. It is a day now marked by overflowing spirits and vibrant, verdant fervor. And, who can pass on an opportunity to drink and make merry with friends?
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Measure and add in 60ml Irish whiskey, 30ml sweet vermouth and 45ml lemon juice. Put in about three to five dashes of Angostura bitters. If you have kummel (a liqueur flavored with caraway, cumin and fennel), pour in about 15ml into the mix. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel for added embellishment. Toast and drink up!
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