Shakespeare, Not Stirred
Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas
Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim
Henry VIII’s Whiskey Slash
The best leaders aren’t afraid to make unpopular decisions. Like King Henry VIII, if you’re a Real Man you have to be ready to ditch a pope, behead a wife who can’t give you a male heir, or divorce one who’s just kind of ugly. In Henry VIII, or All Is True, Shakespeare and his cowriter John Fletcher dramatized the king’s smooth Man-euvering from Wife #1 to Wife #2. Breaking up is hard to do, but only if you’re a pussy. This whiskey cocktail celebrates the alpha male’s right to slash any inconvenient ties that bind. Like a sacrament. Or a neck.
10 fresh mint leaves
½ cup lemon pieces
½ ounce simple syrup
2½ ounces rye whiskey
Slash the mint leaves into little pieces. In a shaker, muddle the lemon pieces with the mint leaves and the simple syrup until they cry out for mercy. Add ice and the whiskey. Shake hard and strain into an old–fashioned glass over ice. Stick 3 (or more, if you’re feeling the urge) maraschino cherry “heads” on an olive pick, for garnish.
Mini-Bard: Henry VIII broke the Man-o-Meter when he split from the pope and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—all so that he could marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. Henry and his team started weakening Rome’s power in England by getting a series of Acts passed in 1532 (when it was looking like Henry was never going to get the divorce or the son he wanted). They completed the break with Rome two years later when Henry declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. In the meantime, he’d already married the pregnant Anne and gotten the Archbishop of Canterbury to nullify his marriage to Catherine. The play Henry VIII casts Anne as “the goodliest woman / That ever lay by man,” and ends with the christening of her and Henry’s baby daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. The playwrights didn’t include any of that messy later stuff about Anne getting beheaded when she, like Catherine, failed to produce a male heir. Or anything about Henry’s other (*cough*) four wives. The original Globe Theatre burned to the ground during a 1613 performance of Henry VIII when a cannon shot, meant to herald the king’s greatness in act 1, blew up in his face. Can you say “karma”?