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Podcast Summary:

“Anyway, I’ll Drink to That” is a Boozn Sam’s production, exploring the fun, quirky, and fascinating tales of drinks that define culture, history and the world. Every drink has a story to tell, and I’m going to tell it…as true as I can. Hosted by Sam, from Boozn Sam’s. Saddle up with a good cocktail and give me a few minutes of your time for a mystery surrounding a drink that changed the world.

Episode 23 Notes:

There was a lady, that was praised by many, worshipped by others, and demonized by some. But, as is often the case, powerful women, create powerful responses.

This is the incredible story of how a very special lady gave so much to the world, including her offspring, but received little in return. 

Transcript for Podcast Episode:

*This is the entire podcast episode in written form. Do not read if you want the audio version to be spoiled.

The lady approved of those that had come to pay her homage. It was right and fitting that they should. They came wearing long, brown robes, with hoods pulled over their white hair and beards, curly and long, flowing on top of the folds of their clothes.

Then they knelt and tossed back their hoods before they folded their arms. Finally, came the chanting. A prayer to her. An ask of her with a promise of what they’d give in return.

She was a tall lady and towered over them, rising to almost six feet. And the men knew how to pay reverence in a way deserving of such a lady. So, she granted them their wish and answered their prayers. That, was only fitting for a woman like this.

This was the fourth century BC and, at a time like this, it was a right and fitting promise by the druids, these wise, Gaelic priests. Answering their pleas, she would give them her gems, white, clustered jewels that almost glowed in the sunlight. 

They would extend their humbled hands and take them until she had no more to give. Then she would give them clothes too. They would need her clothes for the ceremony to follow. It was only right and fitting.  

When they were satisfied, and she was satisfied with the way they praised her, the druids pulled back their hoods and left. But, she knew they would return. They always returned for what she had to offer. 

Many years later, this special lady would offer her gems to others. Her clothes too, for the pour souls that needed protection against the elements and couldn’t afford any other form of protection. She was a giving lady. And in return, they cared for her with a reverence that seemed fitting only for Goddesses.

Yet, she was no Goddess. She was only a lady. But, at a time in history when the divine feminine was not often praised, and when it was, for only the ability to carry life, it was fitting and right that she should be praised for all that she was as a woman. And not just because she could reproduce.  

So, when the witches came seeking solace from her, she gathered them in her arms and granted them a sanctuary. For, she was a kind and giving woman who appreciated being respected. 

Others came too. Some not as nice as these. They attacked the lady and threatened her. Hurled insults her direction and cursed her. They were scared of her. Because a woman this striking was not common. 

So, they were afraid. And, as is often the way with people when they are afraid, they lashed out with aggression at what they didn’t understand. But, even these people only went so far. They refused to kill her. They knew that would be crossing a line that they could never come back from.

For, as inviting and kind as the lady was, she was also capable of turning against those that sought to abuse her. Her ways of evil, matched her ways of strength. And those that had been so foolish as to cross her, endured her wrath in ways that would change, or destroy, their lives forever.  

It was this wrathful side, that some considered borderline demonic. That caused some of power to even draw edicts against her. They banned others from visiting her. Labeled her wicked. Labeled those that gathered within her arms wicked.

Yet, the lady knew that this was only a sign of the times, and humans were fickle. Given enough time the pendulum would swing back the other direction ideologically. She knew this. Because it always had. She’d seen enough of humanity to know that when ideas went too far one way, they came back the other direction.

And she wasn’t wrong. Later in her life, people would worship her like a goddess once more. They would want to have her next to them as a sign of protection and good luck. They’d want to be under her arms.

Yet, even then they would treat her with a healthy respect. A respect befitting someone as powerful as she was. Because she was powerful. The ways she could heal others, and the gems she could bestow on others, showering them in wealth, were endless. 

She was a powerful lady, and it’s only right and fitting that a powerful lady receive the sort of reverence and respect people gave her. 

Things changed for her years later when commerce became a main driver of the world. And, the human quest for wealth, drove men to make her reproduce so they could take from her offspring too. 

Gone were the days of Druid worshippers. Witches no longer gathered under her arms. The men came. And they keep forcing her to reproduce. And they took her offspring and locked them up behind walls so they could monitor and attend to their needs. 

But, then, when the time came, her offspring would be robbed. They’d steal their gems and carry them away in large buckets into their warehouses, where they’d use those jewels to multiply their wealth even further. 

They cared for nothing but the jewels. And the lore. The reputation that she’d built over centuries. And that made her sad. 

But, there was nothing this lady could do now, for she had grown too special. She had lived up to her reputation. 

The stories had grown beyond her. 

The ways she could heal whooping cough.

Ward off evil spirits. 

Or bring the devil himself.

The way her perfume could bring people to their knees with its powerful intoxicating scent.

Not only was she a magnificent lady, but she was also a healer.

Still, none of the men that came for her now praised her. They saw her as a means to an end. 

Although this bothered her she kept giving her gifts and hoping that those who took from her would respect her enough to do her great honor. 

And they did. 

In other ways that weren’t the same as how the Druids praised her.

They didn’t get down on their knees in front of her body and praise her. 

They didn’t ask for permission to take gems from her and her offspring.

But, they did honor her still.

They steeped her gems in clear liquid and they took the infused liquid and turned it into something else entirely. 

They imparted her essence into the world, so that others, when they were enjoying the company of friends and those they cared about, could enjoy her too.

They gave this special lady a reach she’d never had before.

And, while she had no way to turn back time and return to how things were before the men arrived and took what they wanted from her, she did now have the gift of having her essence all over the world.

And that was fitting, even if it wasn’t right. 

But, she knew the way of the world, and knew the world wasn’t always fair. 

This was one of those instances. 

But, in this unfairness, she sought to correct it via a slight circumvention. She took one of her most powerful traits, her smell and the way she tasted.

The way she could impart so much sensory load into such a small gem, and used that to tease the taste buds of so many with flavors of honeysuckle and pear.

And that was how this special lady went through the ages, at times praised for her body and her gems, her flowers, 

and other times, like during the Roman Empire, hated for her wood, which was believed to contain the devil’s essence itself.

Until she reached a time when she was planted over and over again in large groves, and her offspring were harvested by hand in the spring for their large bunches of white flowers.

Which were soaked in liquor and infused.

Today, each bottle takes up to 1,000 blossoms from her family. 

The finished product is clear with a light tinge that looks like the color of watered down honey

And it’s served in all sorts of drinks, adding a delicious floral hint.

This tree, the elder tree, has a long history, and many uses for the elderflowers produced.

In this use case, we’re talking about 

St. Germain

An Elderflower Liqueur. 

Although elderflower liqueur has been used by everyone from the Druids to Witches, 

It is St. Germain which has perfected the presentation and taste of Elderflower Liqueur in their St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.

And the elder tree, also referred to as the special lady, has fulfilled it’s end of that  ancient Druid prayer:

“Lady Ellhorn, give me thy wood, and I will give thee some of mine when it grows in the forest”

Anyway… I’ll drink to that.