Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

The Great Libation!

by Danica Waters

1. a pouring out of wine or other liquid in honor of a deity.
2. the liquid poured out.
3. Often Facetious .
a. an intoxicating beverage, as wine, especially when drunk in ceremonial or celebrative situations.
b. an act or instance of drinking such a beverage.

Ahhhh…. the Great Libation.  I love the word “libation”, primarily because it rolls off the tongue in a delicious sort of way, and also because I absolutely relish the way my artistic, free-thinking Aunt used to say it as she emerged from her studio on the occasional late South Texas afternoons when I’d pop in for a visit.    “Truly delightful to see you, my dear, and forgive me for being an absolute hell- of- a- mess,” she’d say as she smoothed her unruly hair back and removed her reading glasses from her flushed face.   “Come in!  Come in!  What will it be?  I think we must treat ourselves to a little li-bation in honor of your visit, don’t you agree?”  For her to say, “Would you like a glass of wine?” would have been so terribly boring in comparison.  In her animated Southern drawl, the simple utterance of the word “libation” smacked of all things indulgent and wickedly wonderful.  But beyond the beverage, the greatest indulgence was that this was a space where, with the gentle assistance of the libation itself, conversation would flow, lessons would be learned, and secrets would be told.  (It was like the “Midnight Margarita” scene in the classic chick-flick Practical Magic, sans the evil dead dude lurking underneath the lawn.)

Indeed, the meaning of the word “libation” has as much or more to do with the ritual of drinking the spirits as it has to do with the spirits themselves.  In doing a little light reading about the worldwide connotations of the word “libation’, I ran across an interesting fact:  It seems that Siberian shaman (especially those living in close proximity to the Alta Mountains) initiate their spiritual drums via a ritual considered an act of “enlivening the drum”.  During the ritual, they pour beer all over the skin and wood used to create the instrument.  The shaman believe that the beer has the ability to bring the spirits of the tree and the deer back to life so that they may tell their life story and pledge their continued energy to the healing and prophetic efforts of the shaman.  (

I feel that at this point I should stress that my inclusion of the aforementioned ritual in this little  piece does not infer or otherwise indicate my endorsement of dousing the household furniture in your favorite beverage as a cool party trick.  I’m pretty darn sure the couch will not reveal its life story if baptized in Fat Bastard-or- any- other- type- of-Ale.  I’m even more certain I would not want to ever sit on that sofa if its life story had been revealed.  This would most definitely fall into the category of “Things I Do Not Want To Know”. TMI, folks.  T.M.I..

However, even from the perspective of our less-mystical Western culture, the “enlivening of the drum” sounds entirely plausible to me. I can remember many a drummer who seemed to play much better after spilling a bit of beer on his/her drum set.  Come to think of it, I’ve attended more than one occasion during which the entire room was thankfully enlivened when libations were served.  Powerful stuff – Viva la libation!

So in that spirit, we’ll explore the vast territory of the Great Libation together. We’ll get into the world of wines, explore the single malts, and manage to come up with a fine rum punch or two.  If you’ve got a recipe you think we can’t live without, please send it along (with a dashing picture of yourself)!  Let the party begin!

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Posted in alcoholic beverages and Allspice Chronicles and Beverages and Danica Waters and libation and Vegetarian by danica on April 16th, 2011 at 4:37 pm.

1 comment

One Reply

  1. As a proud receiver of the hell-of-a-mess genes, I have to say I am way jealous of your memories of sharing a little libation with auntie. The best ingredient in any drink is flowing conversation. As for the photo. Your place or mine?

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