Grave sir, hail! I come to answer thy best pleasure…to dive into the fire…to thy strong bidding task Ariel and all his quality – The Tempest, William Shakespeare
The water was infested with…writhing sea-dragons – Beowulf, Seamus Heaney Translation
To craft The Hurricane At Midnight, you need to work up a batch of home brew ginger beer, and the ingredients for my next batch are at hand. Ginger, ginseng, cayenne peppers, cinnamon, and more. In truth, if I were commercializing this Ginger Beer, there would be two variants. Fire On The Water would have promotional copy playing off The Tempest, and it would contain all the heat, but none of the ginseng. For the ginseng variant – and just as hot with ginger & other spices – I’d slap FireSnake on the label and work up advertising material that fused Beowulf references, Oriental snake charmers, and bit about the “up, up and away!” properties of ginseng which make super heroes of that half of the population which lays claim to the better half.
“Fire snake,” by the way, is John Gardner’s term for fire-drakes, or mere-dragons, the fire breathing dragons of the fen which infest the cliffsides and waters above the lair of Grendel’s mother in the original Beowulf and in Gardner’s masterful retelling from the doomed monster’s perspective.
I will return once there has been a chance to move forward with this project.
If this is going to be your first slug of hotter than usual ginger beer, skip the peppers and ginseng and call it the kids’ batch – it’ll still be plenty hot compared to store bought ginger-ales. Ease the family into an appreciation of ginger beer, so you don’t spook them off forever. With second and subsequent batches, add hot peppers to your brew up to that threshold where the scourge of the Scoville threatens to be one lash too many. That’ll be just right.
After you’ve made the Fire on the Water, you and your kids can enjoy a glass of this fiery ginger beer over ice, or sip it chilled from the fridge. Serve it unadulterated to young ones and friendly teetotalers in your circle. For the non-teetotalers, you must proceed with the adulteration, or at least the adult iteration, that blazing offense to good sense.
This next portion of the page is borrowed from the original Hurricane at Midnight text on the Imbibe Responsibly page, though it is possible to make this drink so hot that no responsible person would indulge.
The Hurricane at Midnight
If the Dark & Stormy is the threat of a storm, then the Hurricane at Midnight is the storm itself. In the first instance you grab your rain slicker and run to find a rocker under the protection of a cottage awning where you can behold the flash and clap of the passing storm. In the second instance, batten down the hatches – prepare for nasty weather. The name is a trifle ridiculous, but after you’ve had a few Darker & Stormier bar drinks that simply weren’t matching claims, you’d know it’s time to give up on the comparatively bolder and start brewing in a separate cauldron altogether. The Hurricane at Midnight is no tempest in a teapot. Rather, it’s a glass full up of the noble wrath of Prospero who has ushered in a fire unquenchable in the midst of a tumultuous sea. This is flamed amazement in the midst of a pitch squall and it will burn in many places, on the ins and on the outs. You’ll cry with Ferdinand, “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”
If you would summon a Hurricane at Midnight, then you’ll need stronger stuff that store-bought ginger beer. Your rum must be hotter, too, than 40 proof. Navy Strength, if you can find it; “Navy Strength” if you can’t. You’ll make this drink hot as a smith’s forge, and not a little bit excruciating.
-Serve Over Cubed Ice-
- 3 oz. Navy Strength Rum, e.g., Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
- 8 oz. Fire on the Water Ginger Beer
- 1/4 Lime Squeezed & Tossed
- Garnish with….no, no…you don’t decorate this drink, you survive it; maybe they’ll decorate you afterwards