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Friday Cocktail

Reincarnation cocktails and a page from the Time-Life Books This Fabulous Century 1950-1960, detailing the Bridey Murphy craze.

Reincarnation cocktails and a page from the Time-Life Books This Fabulous Century 1950-1960, detailing the Bridey Murphy craze.

Resurrect your spirits and celebrate a new year, new life with a Reincarnation cocktail!

Do you remember your past life? How about the Bridey Murphy craze?

In 1952, hypnotist Morey Bernstein put seemingly ordinary American housewife Virginia Tighe (1923-1995) in a trance. During a session of hypnotic regression, Tighe recounted startling revelations of her past life as Bridey Murphy and her life and death in Cork, Ireland, a place Tighe had never traveled to. Bernstein wrote a bestselling book, The Search for Bridey Murphy, based on these past-life memories.

Many details of the story could not be proven while others were astonishingly accurate, but then it was discovered that Tighe had lived next door to an Irish immigrant named Bridie Murphy Corkell (1892-1957). So exactly whose memories were revealed during the course of those trances?

While the truth may be sketchy, the possibility of past lives and popularity of the book—and subsequent 1956 movie, starring Teresa Wright—gave rise to the Bridey Murphy craze, resulting in two songs, “come as you were” parties, and a cocktail.

“A March 1956 issue of Life Magazine attributes the cocktail to Walt McCrystal of the “Doctors’ Club” of Houston, and gives the following recipe: ‘a jigger vodka and a 1/2 jigger of maraschino liqueur shaken with lemon juice and crushed ice and topped with a cupful of flaming rum.’ ” – From the notes section of the Wikipedia entry on Bridey Murphy.

What you’ll need:  Vodka, Maraschino liqueur, Lemon Juice, Rum (preferably dark or spiced), and maraschino cherries.

Use either a martini or coupe glass, and fill it with crushed ice.  Set a shot glass on top of the ice (or alternatively, place the shot glass first and surround with ice to anchor it). Fill the shot glass with rum. In a shaker over cracked ice, add 1 1/2 ounce of your vodka of choice, add in 1/2 ounce each of maraschino liqueur and lemon juice.  Strain and pour over the crushed ice in your glass. Optionally, strike a match and touch it to the rum.

Or make it simple!  In a shaker over cracked ice, add 1 1/2 ounce each of vodka and rum, 1/2 ounce each of maraschino liqueur and lemon juice. Shake and then strain into your cocktail glass (no ice necessary!). Either way you serve it, garnish with maraschino cherries.

How I like it:  Presentation-wise it may be cool to set up the crushed ice and flaming shot ‘o rum, but really, why complicate matters? Go with the streamlined option and serve up the simpler straight up version. My crushed ice melted before I could get the above photo! And the rum wouldn’t light up for me!

As for ingredients, I suggest using a spiced rum. I also used an orange-flavored vodka, and one special ingredient. Since I didn’t have maraschino liqueur, I used maraschino cherry juice and added 1/2 ounce of Kukuï of Aruba liqueur, an aperitif made from Agave and Shimaruku fruit (both native tastes of Aruba) produced by The Cadushy Distillery on Bonaire. The Kukuï of Aruba liqueur is like a spicier maraschino/grenadine substitute, but the drink won’t be as sweet as with the original recipe.

Don’t drink yourself into oblivion; drink responsibly!

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for “resurrecting” this cocktail! I’ve been reading a lot about the Bridey Murphy case… being a hypnotherapist. I find the whole thing fascinating, especially how it touched off a nationwide interest to the point of having Bridey Murphy dances and parties. I was born in 1971 and didn’t even know about Bridey Murphy until I stumbled upon it.
    Anyway, I was looking for a picture of the cocktail and a great description and you provided it!

    • I had vaguely heard or read about the Bridey Murphy case, but I’d never heard of the drink until I saw it in the Time-Life book covering that decade. Glad to have resurrected it for you!

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