5 November

Guy Fawkes / Bonfire Night Cocktails

Fireman's Sour

So we are drinking a...

Fireman's Sour

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

November 5th is, of course, Guy Fawkes' Night. Organised fireworks nights (those municipal events that are replacing the fine old tradition that saw families gather in the back garden to blow off limbs) will be held across Britain in honour of Guy (or Guido) Fawkes, who was arrested while trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament early on the morning of 5 November, 1605. The plan was to kill not only Parliament, but the King, and install his daughter as a Catholic queen.

The bonfires and fireworks we watch tonight - complete with papier mache 'guys' atop - are a nod to the bonfires Protestant Brits lit all over London in a spontaneous celebration of the King's escape. Fawkes was sentenced to have his genitals cut off and burnt in front of him, and his bowels and heart removed while still alive. He had the good sense to jump from the scaffold and hang himself before that happened.

But while we remember Guy Fawkes' name, what about his co-conspirators Thomas Bates, Robert and Thomas Wintour, Christopher and John Wright, Thomas Percy or Robert Catesby? In honour of the forgotten conspirators, all of whom were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered and have their heads spiked on poles, this 5th of November we're raising a hot drink to their severed heads.

Hot Toddy for Robert Catesby, the brains behind the plot
Tom & Jerry for Thomas Percy
Hot Buttered Rum for Robert Wintour
Mulled Wine for John Wright
Collar & Cuff for Thomas Bates, the only working class member for the gang and Robert Catesby's servant
Negus for Guy Fawkes himself
Blue Blazer for Christopher Wright
Hot Red Blooded Frenchman for Thomas Wintour, who was a solider in France

And the full poem?

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

The oldest beer

This day back in 1992, scientists confirmed that they'd found the world's oldest beer - in, of all places, Iran! Yes, 5,000 years ago, folk in those parts were drinking not only wine, but beer.

Mesopotamians, like Egyptians, preferred beer to wine, and had developed a range of styles, including sweet beers, light beers, dark beers, amber beers and specially filtered brews. There wasn't much left of the beer itself, sadly. Just a yellowish gloop left in an old jug. Tests revealed, however, that it was calcium oxalate, AKA beerstone, a scale left by beer.

As fans of real ale and, of course, the Martini, may we recommend you join us in a Mantini? It's a classic Martini with a hint of fine ale in lieu of vermouth.

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