Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here's to Blue Moons and Even Bluer Martinis

Photo by Kostian Iftica, courtesy of NASA, taken on July 2, 2004.

Tomorrow night, July 31, 2015, there will be a blue moon. The moon shown in the photo above is blue because the photographer shot the image through a blue filter. Nonetheless, it was a blue moon.In popular parlance, attributing something to a blue moon moon means that it seldom or rarely occurs.

What exactly is a blue moon? There are two definitions. The most recent says that a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. This can occur every 2-1/2 years on average. The other, older, definition says a blue moon is the third moon in a season that has 4 full moons. This last definition is important to the ecclesiastical calendar, which needs to know when the 13th moon is going to occur in order to stay on track and determine such things as the date of Easter and Passover.

Are blue moons ever really blue? Probably not. The date of a full moon, all by itself, doesn't affect the moon's color, but volcanic activity can. Back in 1883 when the volcano Krakatoa exploded, the moon appeared to turn blue and stayed that way for years after the eruption. The particles in the ash cloud scattered particles in the visible light spectrum and allowed others to pass through, causing some objects to appear blue or green. More recently the eruptions of Mt. St. Helens and Mount Pinatubo have turned the moon blue as well. The key to having a blue moon is having lots of particles in the air that are slightly wider than the wavelength of red light. Volcanoes and forest fires can cause clouds that do that, so they can appear to be blue even if they're not. I don't want to get involved in the green cheese thing, so I'm going to move on. Thirsty? Try the Blue Martini that follows.

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I now know for sure that what goes around comes around. About 6 months ago I was straightening the pantry and got to the shelf where I keep liqueurs and other spirits I use for cooking. While I don't mind doubles of certain things, some of the sweet cordials last for years and having more than one bottle of them makes no sense. With that in mind, I pulled out the duplicates, gave one of our neighbors a call and invited her to take whatever she liked from the assortment that would otherwise be poured down the drain. One of the bottles that moved from our house to hers was blue curacao, an orange flavored liqueur that is tinted a glorious cobalt blue. I'm guessing about the tint, but I've never in all my years of travel seen a blue orange, so I think that's a reasonable assumption on my part. At any rate, we were invited for drinks a week or so ago and, sure enough, one of the drinks being offered was a blue martini. Now it happens that we live in an area where men would rather die of thirst than drink a Pink Lady or touch this strange new drink called the Blue Hawaii. There was a lot of circling around the drink table but no one touched the martini pitcher. We had a lovely visit but as we were getting set to leave, my neighbor pulled me into the kitchen when she gifted me with the bottle of Blue Curacao I had given her 6 months earlier. I am once again the custodian of the blue albatross which I am now convinced is the fruitcake of the 21st century. I've been told by those who enjoy the newer martinis that this is a nice drink. I think it is beautiful. By the way, if you know someone looking for a blue liqueur, have I got a deal for you. Here's the recipe for the Blue Hawaii Martini.

Blue Hawaii Martini...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

8 ounces vodka (1 cup)
2 ounces blue curacao (1/4 cup)
2 ounces pineapple juice (1/4 cup)
Ice cubes
Orange wedges (optional)


In a pitcher, combine vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice. Place ice cubes in a martini shaker. Add the liqueur mixture; shake. Strain into four chilled martini glasses. If desired, garnish each serving with an orange wedge or pineapple cube. Yield: 4 servings.

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David said...

Mary, My wife loves a good martini and she'd really like this version! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

We are not Martha said...

What a great cocktail to have while moon watching :) Blue moons remind me of my dad because he always used to sing the Nanci Griffith song :)


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