Etiquette & superstition: juniper berries

Last shot of the day, boys.

ETIQUETTE: The martini is a cocktail that people seem to get really upset about. It’s a cocktail made with gin (a spirit infused with juniper berries) and vermouth. At a certain point some people started acting like vermouth was horrible, and then we started hearing all of these “perfect martini” recipes that involved instructions like swirling the vermouth in the glass and then dumping it out, or merely whispering the word “vermouth” into the glass. Then came James Bond with his “shaken, not stirred” line, which confused the hell out of every dumb kid who was trying to be debonair like James Bond, because what was that whole thing about bruising the gin? Oh wait – James Bond was drinking vodka martinis. Which some people say aren’t martinis at all.

Whatever. There is no one way to make a martini. It’s like a hamburger. If you are at a bar, specify to the waiter what kind of spirit you would like, and if you have a preference, go further with the brand of spirit, the shaking or the stirring, and whether you’d like an olive or lemon peel. Just don’t make any of these “dry whispered cloudy Bombay Sapphire in a tumbler” instructions in someone’s home if they ask if you would like a martini and they already have a pitcherful sitting there. You wouldn’t go to this person’s cookout and start barking orders about how much fat content the meat in your burger needs to be and when the cheese needs to be put on the patty, would you? No, you would not.

SUPERSTITION: As you may have learned from the fairy tale “The Juniper Tree,” you should treat the juniper tree as a friend. A juniper tree or bush by the front door of your home will repel thieves. If you cut down a juniper tree, you will die within the year. It’s okay, however, to make a fire with juniper wood if you need to cure your sick cattle. I suppose you could just trick somebody you hate into cutting down the juniper tree, or maybe you would just find the juniper wood somewhere? I don’t know; this sounds kind of tricky and maybe I would just try to give the cattle some chicken soup or something.

Oh, you say you came here to find out about a superstition regarding juniper berries and not just juniper trees? Dreaming of juniper berries prophesies the birth of a first male child. You can also take some dried berries and string them up in your home if you need more love in your life.

Photo by CocteauBoy on Flickr

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