Light & Refreshing Clouds of Olympus
"Now the goddess Eos (Dawn) drew close to tall Olympos with her message of light to Zeus and the other immortals."
Homer, Iliad 2. 48
Earlier today as I was concocting this cocktail recipe, I thought I'd first share some background with you about the inspiration behind it. As the name suggests, the drink is an homage to Olympus and all its mythical glory.
Home of the Gods
It was the home of the gods who dwelt in fabulous palaces of marble and gold. One of its clear descriptions can be found in Homer's Iliad. It was essentially an ancient akropolis--a fortified hill-top and palace complex--located just below the peaks of Mount Olympos. The golden gates of the heavenly fortress were guarded by the three Horai (Horae) and it contained the palace of Zeus, lesser palaces for the other gods, and stables for the immortal horses. The buildings were built of stone with bronze foundations and were surrounded by cloistered courtyards with golden pavements.
Did You Know?
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in modern day Greece, standing at nearly 3000metres in height and looking out over the Aegean Sea on the east of the country. The peak has been formed by millions of years of rain and wind which created a solitary tower at the highest peak. Adventurers and explorers regularly attempt to climb this mountain peak. Unfortunately, no climber has yet found the golden palaces of the Greek Gods.
The Palace of Zeus
The main structure was the palace of Zeus. It had a fairly simple layout--as was typical of ancient Greek palaces--with a central hall, private bedchambers and storage rooms. The golden-floored hall served as both a council chamber and feast-hall for the Olympian gods and provided them an expansive view of the world below allowing them to observe mankind from the heights. The golden tables and tripods of the feast were automatons animated by the divine smith Hephaistos (Hephaestus), and trundled in and out of the hall as required.
Before the palace of Zeus was a large, cloistered courtyard where the full assembly of the gods would gather--including all of the earth-, river- and sea-deities as well as nymphs. The peak of Olympos functioned as the secondary seat or throne of Zeus, apart from the rest of other gods.
Now the Drink
There is a high chance that you’re going to fall in love with this Clouds of Olympus Cocktail if you fancy something light and refreshing! It’s a classic gin cocktail that will likely become your favourite.
It happens every now and then that I learn about a new drink and wonder how I've lived without it all my life. That's how I felt about the Moscow Mule and the Vodka Press... and now I feel exactly the same about the Clouds of Olympus. What a surprise to find that with a few simple ingredients, you can make such a delicious drink... and that it can be so refreshing!? Actually... When I'm out, I'm a big fan of vodka seltzers and zero sugar drinks. But it's the addition of fresh lime juice and egg white that really makes this drink stand out.
For Friday nights at home, girls' nights out, or weekend days at the pool, this cocktail is perfect. Delicious, simple, and refreshing... exactly what a good cocktail should be, with that extra mysterious vibe to it ;)
The Olympian akropolis lay above the clouds and the paths of the stars, near the apex of the solid bronze-dome of the sky. It existed in the zone known as the aither--the bright upper-air of heaven or shining blue of the sky. The gods feasted on ambrosia and nectar, substances collected from the meadows of the earth-encircling river Okeanos or the smoke of sacrificial offerings wafting to heaven. The drink is an ode to ancient mythology.
Helen's Heart - Celebrating Love, Life, and Passion
Once Cool Instant Martini Recipe
The classic martini is one of the most iconic cocktails in history. On paper it’s a simple double act of spirit and vermouth, however when you delve a little deeper it’s anything but straightforward. Wet or dry? Shaken or stirred? What does it all mean, and how do you make the best martini? Well, we’ve also given it some character, here at Trogin Distillery Melbourne. As usual when I was experimenting with our supreme Golden Apple Gin, I came up with this unique recipe and decided to name it Helen’s Heart owing to its sophistication, beautiful colour and pleasant aftertaste! But Before sharing the recipe with you, let’s step into ancient mythical Greece for a while!
Helen is one of the most famous female figures to appear in Greek mythology. Helen was the most beautiful of all mortals, and was given the title of “the face that launched a thousand ships”, for an Achaean army was formed after she arrived in Troy with Paris.
Helen, The Daughter of Zeus
The story of Helen starts in Sparta, at a time when King Tyndareus ruled it. Tyndareus was married to the beautiful Leda, the daughter of Thestius. The beauty of Leda attracted the attention of Zeus, who came up with a unique way of seducing the Spartan queen. Zeus would transform himself into a magnificent swan, and arranging for an eagle to chase him, flew directly into the lap of Leda, imitating a bird in distress. In the form of a swan, Zeus effectively mated with Leda, causing her to become pregnant. On the same day Leda would also sleep with her husband, and by Tyndareus she would also fall pregnant. As a result Leda would give birth to four children, Castor and Pollox, Clytemnestra and Helen; with Helen and Pollox considered to be the children of Zeus. Some say of how Helen was not born in the normal way, hatching from an egg instead.
The Daughter of Nemesis
Alternatively, Leda was just the woman who raised Helen, for in this instance Leda was not the object of Zeus’ desire, for it was instead the goddess Nemesis. Nemesis, having no wish to sleep with Zeus, transformed herself into a goose, or a swan, and Zeus did likewise, and thus, Zeus still had his way with Nemesis. As a result, Nemesis laid an egg, which then passed into the care of Leda.
Raid on Theseus
Helen is of course famous for being taken by Paris to Troy, but this was not the first abduction of Helen, for years earlier, whilst Helen was still a child, she was forcibly taken from Sparta by Theseus. Theseus and Pirithous had decided that they were deserving of wives who were children of Zeus, and so Theseus decided to make Helen his wife. The abduction of Helen was a simple affair, with no trouble encountered by Theseus and Pirithous, and so Helen soon found herself in Attica. When Castor and Pollox became aware of the abduction of their sister, they raised an army and marched upon Theseus’ Athenian kingdom. Theseus was not present, for he was captive in the Underworld with Pirithous, and so the Athenians willingly capitulated to the Dioscuri. Theseus would lose his throne to Menestheus, and he would also lose his mother, for Helen was discovered in Aphidna, where Theseus had hidden her with Aethra. Aethra then became a prisoner of Sparta, and the handmaiden of Helen for many years. Finding it interesting? Well, let’s have a look at our recipe first:
The Recipe Card
Paying an homage to Helen’s story and her life full of adventure, especially her accounts with the mortals, this drink really brings you back to that time:
Just like the ingredients, the process of making this drink is also pretty simple. All you have to do is stir to mix the ingredients and then pour it into a martini glass. Garnish with kalamata olives and a sprig of oregano. And boom it’s done!
Instant Gin & Tonic
In fact, you can also make yourself and your guests one awesome Gin & Tonic, using the Trogin’s Golden Apple Gin. Just mix 60mls of Trogin with 120mls of Long Rays Pacific tonic and serve it in a balloon wine glass with some rocks (if you like), an apple slice and a sprig of thyme.
Now, back to the story!
Helen of Sparta and the Suitors of Helen
Back in Sparta, Helen would eventually come of age, and King Tyndareus sent heralds out across Ancient Greece to proclaim that worthy suitors should present themselves at his palace. The beauty of Helen was well known and kings and heroes came from across the ancient world to try and marry her; this though led to a dilemma for Tyndareus for how could a husband of Helen be chosen without offending the other Suitors of Helen? Bloodshed and ill-feeling between some of the greatest warriors of Greece was now a possibility.
It was Odysseus who came up with the idea of the Oath of Tyndareus, an oath which would bind each Suitor of Helen to protect the chosen husband of Helen, and none of those present would likely break an oath, and if they did, then the other Suitors would be bound to seek revenge on that individual. Thus it was that Helen was allowed to choose her own husband, and Helen would therefore wed Menelaus, a man who had lived alongside Helen in Tyndareus’ palace, following his, and his brother, Agamemnon’s, exile from Mycenae. Tyndareus would afterwards abdicate the throne of Sparta in favour of Menelaus, and so Helen became Queen of Sparta.
The Judgement of Paris
All was well in Sparta but events that were occurring in the world of the gods would soon have a profound impact on Helen. Three goddesses were competing for the title of fairest, or most beautiful, of all the goddesses; these goddesses were Aphrodite, goddess of Love and Beauty, Athena, the goddess of Wisdom, and Hera, the goddess of Marriage, who was also the wife of Zeus.
A judge had been appointed to make the final decision; which would be the Judgement of Paris, named for a Trojan prince Paris, a mortal known for his impartiality. The three goddesses who were to be judged though decided not simply trust in the impartiality of Paris, and instead offered bribes. Athena would offer knowledge, Hera offered dominion over mortal realms, whilst Aphrodite promised the hand of the world’s most beautiful woman. In the end, Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses, resulting in Aphrodite becoming his lifelong benefactor, whilst Paris also gained the animosity of Hera and Athena. Aphrodite would also make good on her promise, and of course, the most beautiful of women was Helen.
Helen and Paris
Paris would come to Sparta, in the guise of an envoy from Troy, but when Menelaus was called away to attend the funeral of Catreus upon Crete, Paris was left alone with Helen. Some tell of Paris abducting Helen whilst others tell of her being seduced by the Trojan Prince, potentially with Aphrodite using her powers to ensure Helen fell in love with Paris. In either case, Helen would leave Sparta in the company of Paris, with Paris also helping himself to a large quantity of Spartan treasure. Now acting as man and wife, Helen and Paris were said to have consummated their love upon the island of Cranae in the Laconian Gulf.
The End of Helen’s Story
There are differing endings to the story of Helen, endings given by different writers in antiquity. One version tells of how Helen would spend eternity in the paradise area of the Greek afterlife, be in the Elysian Fields or upon the White Island; but if Helen was in the Elysian Fields then she was alongside her husband Menelaus, but if upon the White Island, then she had somehow become married to Achilles.
There is one story which actually deals with the death of Helen, and in keeping with many stories from Greek mythology there is no happy ending for the Queen of Sparta. Upon the death of Menelaus, Helen was driven out of her home by the illegitimate sons of Menelaus, Nicostratus and Megapenthes. There were relatively few places in Greece where Helen might be safe, for many still blamed her for the Trojan War, but upon the island of Rhodes was Queen Polyxo, a woman who Helen considered a friend. Polyxo though had become a widow during the Trojan War, for her husband, Tlepolemus, had been killed by Sarpedon; and secretly Polyxo blamed Helen for her husband’s death. Thus when Helen arrived in her palace, Polyxo sent servants, who were disguised as Erinyes, into Helen’s rooms, and Helen was killed.