The first week of May has flown by here in Isolation Town, USA, and frankly? With May Day, May the Forth be with You, and Cinco de Mayo to celebrate all in one week we decided to give your liver a break. Bonus Catholic points if you automatically read “and also with you” after May the Forth be with You.
Here is our May calendar using Michael P. Foley’s fantastic book, and here is the link if you’ve yet to purchase it:
And you can follow him on Facebook here:
May 7th, St. Stanislaus
Kevin and I both originate from Trenton, New Jersey, and like many other inner-city Catholic regions our Diocese produced a multitude of grammar schools. St. Stanislaus was one of the dearest; a lovely, mostly Polish congregation and like most other schools in our area boasted a typically beautiful church, resplendent with stained glass windows and hand painted altar ceiling décor.
And, as usual, I did not really “know” my saints until I began drinking with them…thanks to Michael’s book my knowledge is much more astute! “St. Stan” as we used to irreverently call him at the CYO basketball tournaments, was quite the fellow. He had a reputation for eloquence, and an innate ability to convert penitents. While Bishop of Krakow he angered the king, who in turn ordered his execution; when the soldiers refused, the king himself did the deed, earning him a dethronement and a life sentence in a Benedictine abbey.
St. Stan was well known for his “honeyed tongue” so what better way to celebrate than with a glass of mead? If you happen to be in Upstate New York, you can visit Helderberg Meadworks.
May 10th, St. Damien De Veuster
Ahh, St. Damien is a perfect selection for our social distancing climate of today. Think we are in it alone? Pray to this gentleman, as he knows what we are going through.
When his local bishop issued a plea for priests in the leper colonies of Hawaii, St. Damien volunteered and spent sixteen years caring for the spiritual needs of the lepers on the state quarantined island of Molokai. Yup. Sixteen years. So, quit your complaining and toast this remarkable gentleman with a St. Damien!
1 oz gin
¾ oz pineapple juice
¼ oz grenadine
¼ oz lemon juice
splash of soda water
Pour ingredients except soda water into a shaker filled with ice, shake 40 times, strain into cocktail glass, top with soda water
May 13th, Our Lady of Fatima
Another lesson in my on-going saint education! Of course, we all know that Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal; she appeared on six different occasions and shared three secrets, and Fatima has since become a holy mecca for followers of Our Lady.
But did you know that Pope St. John Paul II credited his recovery from his attempted assassination (on May 13, 1981) to her? And that he ordered that the bullet be placed in the tiara of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima?
To honor Our Lady on her special day, please enjoy beer or wine…if possible, select something from Portugal!
May 15th, St. Peregrine
St. Peregrine was martyred, along with his traveling companions, after being sent to Gaul by the pope. His mission was to evangelize them, but obviously they were not ready to abandon their idols.
San Pellegrino is Italian for St. Peregrine, so what better way to celebrate (or mourn, however you choose to view it!) some of the idolatry that we have abandoned during our self-quarantine but to include it in a Tom Collins?
Tom Collins con Pellegrino
2 oz gin
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 oz lemon juice
lemon wedge, cherry, orange slice
Pour gin, sugar, and lemon juice into a shaker filled with ice, shake 40 times. Strain into a highball which is also filled with ice and add Pellegrino. Stir gently, and garnish with fruit
May 19th, St. Dunstan
This English saint is remembered for his legendary cunning in outwitting the Devil in a most amusing way; he used a pair of red-hot pincers (he was working as a smith with church bells at the time) and grabbed ole Satan by his nose until he begged for mercy.
On another occasion when Satan visited St. Dunstan’s workshop, he asked for a pair of shoes; our clever saint made the process so painful that they made a deal: he would stop if Satan never visited a house with a horseshoe nailed over the door. Now, seriously, who knew that is how the tradition began?
½ oz gin
½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz sweet vermouth
½ oz orange juice
½ oz Gran Marnier (if you want ‘straight’ whiskers)
½ oz Orange Curacao (if you would rather have ‘curled’ whiskers)
1 dash orange bitters
Pour ingredients except soda water into a shaker filled with ice, shake 40 times, strain into cocktail glass
May 22nd, St. Rita
Hmmm. I did not know much about St. Rita, and frankly now that I do, I am torn. Perhaps this is a saint that falls under the ‘need to know’ category, I will let you decide.
Married, had children, husband murdered, children died, became a nun. That is a quick synopsis, let us get to the meat of the story:
During prayer one day, a wound appeared on her forehead and was likened to be a stigma from the Crown of Thorns on Jesus’ forehead. It remained with her until death and was very painful and quite repulsive…especially when it festered and developed worms…whom she referred to as her angels since they aided in her sanctification.
Her body is displayed in the basilica of Cascia, with her head wound still visible.
OK then! I fell as though I am getting to know Michael’s sense of humor a little bit; he suggests that you substitute tequila in St. Rita’s drink with mezcal. You know. The bottle with the worm.
St. Rita Cocktail
1 ½ oz tequila blanco
¾ oz St. Germain
½ oz fresh lime juice
Pour ingredients except soda water into a shaker filled with ice, shake 40 times, strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice (you may wish to salt the rim), and garnish with a slice of lime
May 26th, St. Philip Neri
Our dear St. Philip had a burning love for God; so much so that once during his prayer time a mystical ball of fire entered his mouth and lodged in his chest causing his heart to become so aflame with love that it was actually discovered, after his death, that two of his ribs had extended to make room for his heart…which had become expanded because it was so full of love for his Lord.
What better way to celebrate his love than with the following?
1 oz light rum
¾ oz amaretto
¼ oz 151-proof rum
4-6 oz cranberry juice
Pour ingredients except the 151-proof rum into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, stir until very cold. Top with the 151-proof rum
May 30, St. Joan of Arc
Burned at the stake at the age of nineteen, canonized in 1920, and the patron saint of France. What a life! Did you know that voices guided her as she led the French army to drive out England? And it was those same voices who led her to find an ancient sword, which she is rarely pictured without, buried behind the altar of a chapel. We are celebrating the life of our St. Joan with a Maiden’s Blush!
2 oz gin
½ oz lemon juice
2 tsp simple syrup
5 oz brut champagne
Lemon twist, cherry, orange slice (optional)
Pour gin, lemon juice and simple syrup into a shaker filled with ice, shake 40 times, strain into a champagne flute, top with champagne. Garnish with fruit.