Adventures in alcohol

A recent Pinterest e-mail with boards on food and drink offered a number of remarkably named drinks, including two that were new to me: the Purple Fuck (powerfully alcoholic and powerfully sweet) and the German drink Gockelsperma ‘cock’s cum’, lit. ‘rooster sperm’ (made with Waldmeister syrup, from the sweet woodruff plant).

Purple Fuck. Into the world of Sex on the Beach and Buttery Nipples comes this violet-hued stunner:

(#1) From Denny Griffin’s board “Fave foods, great dishes”

Griffin’s note, reproduced here without editing:

A “Purple Fuck”. Awsome Drink! – 1 oz blue curacao liqueur – 1 oz peachtree schnapps – 1 oz cuban rum (havana club, bacardi…) – 1 oz vodka – 1 oz grenadine syrup – 3 oz soda (7-up, sprite)

Blue curaçao and grenadine provide the color, four kinds of spirits the alcohol, plus three or four sources of sugar to mask the power of the spirits.

Gockelsperma. A commercial version, with an off-color joke on the label:


(#3) Hen: From you? / Yours?  Cock: [defiantly] So what?

You can make your own. Ingredients from the site:

250 ml Joghurt (Vanillegeschmack) [vanilla flavor yogurt]
250 ml Waldmeistersirup [Waldmeister syrup]
250 ml Korn [grain (alcohol), Schnap(p)s, e.g. Everclear]
250 ml Sahne [cream]

The James Kitchen site from 5/20/15 on “Sweet woodruff syrup – Waldmeistersirup & Maibowle”:

(#4) Commercial Waldmeistersirup, with sweet woodruff leaves

It is near impossible imagining Germany in May without Waldmeister, sweet woodruff. The faint vanilla-sweet smelling herb infuses the traditional Maibowle (may wine punch), imparts its astounding fresh aroma onto vivid green coloured jelly, ice creams and green gummy bears. Waldmeister syrup mixes with sparkling water for a herby-sweet spring lemonade and flavours a refreshing Berliner Weisse (beer). But drizzle it onto a perfect ball (or two) of mascarpone ice cream, add the best strawberries and you might as well find yourself in paintings by Watteau or Boucher: on a pastoral meadow enveloped by mellow air or a wood clearing in dappled shade, immersed into the scents of spring, traveling to the island [of] Cythera in gallant company.

This too you can make at home. From the James Kitchen site:

1.5l / 51 oz. water
1kg / 35.3 oz. / 4½ cups caster sugar
20g / 0.7 oz. citric acid [other recipes use a whole citron]
1 bunch sweet woodruff
green food colouring (optional)

Dissolve sugar in water over low heat, then leave to cool and add citric acid. Tie the bunch of sweet woodruff to a wooden spoon resting on top of your chosen vessel … so that the herbs are suspended in the completely cooled liquid. The stem ends should not be submerged since they would leak too much coumarin. Infuse for 2-5 days, filter and decant into bottles (previously washed with hot water). If you like, dye the sweet woodruff syrup a vivid green colour.

Now back to the plant, which we grew in Columbus OH as a pretty (and sweet-smelling) groundcover in the full shade of ornamental shrubs (mock orange, in particular). From Wikipedia:


Galium odoratum, the sweetscented bedstraw, is a flowering perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae, native to much of Europe from Spain and Ireland to Russia, as well as Western Siberia, Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, China and Japan. It is also sparingly naturalized in scattered locations in the United States and Canada. It is widely cultivated for its flowers and its sweet-smelling foliage.

A herbaceous plant, it grows to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) long, often lying flat on the ground or supported by other plants. Its vernacular names include woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby’s breath; master of the woods would be a literal translation of the German Waldmeister. It is sometimes confused with Galium triflorum and Galium verum.

It owes its sweet smell to the odiferous agent coumarin, and is sometimes used as a flavoring agent due to its chemical content.

… As the epithet odoratum suggests, the plant is strongly scented, the sweet scent being derived from coumarin. This scent increases on wilting and then persists on drying, and the dried plant is used in potpourri and as a moth deterrent. It is also used, mainly in Germany, to flavour May wine (called “Maibowle” or “Maitrank” in German), sweet juice punch, syrup for beer (Berliner Weisse), brandy, jelly, jam, a soft drink (Tarhun, which is Georgian), ice cream, and herbal tea. Also very popular are Waldmeister flavoured jellies, with and without alcohol. In Germany it is also used to flavour sherbet powder, which features prominently in Günter Grass’ novel The Tin Drum.

Then there’s coumarin. From Wikipedia:

Coumarin is a fragrant organic chemical compound in the benzopyrone chemical class … It is a natural substance found in many plants, and a colorless crystalline substance in its standard state.

The name comes from a French term for the tonka bean, coumarou, one of the sources from which coumarin was first isolated as a natural product in 1820. It has a sweet odor, readily recognised as the scent of newly-mown hay, and has been used in perfumes since 1882. Sweet woodruff, meadowsweet, sweet grass and sweet-clover in particular are named for their sweet (i.e., pleasant) smell, which in turn is related to their high coumarin content. When it occurs in high concentrations in forage plants, coumarin is a somewhat bitter-tasting appetite suppressant, and is presumed to be produced by plants as a defense chemical to discourage predation.

Coumarin is used in certain perfumes and fabric conditioners. Coumarin has been used as an aroma enhancer in pipe tobaccos and certain alcoholic drinks, although in general it is banned as a flavorant food additive, due to concerns regarding its hepatotoxicity in animal models.

Coumarin was first synthesized in 1868. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a precursor reagent in the synthesis of a number of synthetic anticoagulant pharmaceuticals similar to dicoumarol, the notable ones being warfarin (brand name Coumadin) and some even more potent rodenticides that work by the same anticoagulant mechanism. 4-hydroxycoumarins are a type of vitamin K antagonist. Pharmaceutical (modified) coumarins were all developed from the study of sweet clover disease… However, unmodified coumarin itself, as it occurs in plants, has no effect on the vitamin K coagulation system, or on the action of warfarin-type drugs.

I think I’ll pass on the Gockelsperma.

3 Responses to “Adventures in alcohol”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    What it doesn’t say about sweet woodruff is that it is aggressively invasive.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      We had no problem with it in Columbus, since it didn’t venture out into the sunlight. But I imagine it could be aggressive in a shade garden or on a woodland floor.

  2. [BLOG] Some Thursday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

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