Introducing Ethel’s Eye of Newt Cordial
Eye of newt, the folk name for mustard seed, has been used to flavor food for thousands of years. Egyptian pharaohs were buried with vessels full of seeds, and ancient Romans and Greeks mixed the seeds with vinegar for a flavorful sauce used on a variety of foods. Some even used it as a medicine – Pythagoras suggested using ground mustard seed in a salve for scorpion stings, and Hippocrates suggested it as a cure for aches and pains. Today, it is the second most popular spice in the United States, and is widely used throughout the world. It’s also one of our favorite things, and something we’ve experimented with over the years.
The term “eye of newt” was perhaps most famously referenced in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1606), by a witch in this whimsical incantation:
“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”
To our knowledge, no one in the United States has ever used mustard seed for the main flavor of a distilled spirit. Until now.
About Ethel’s Eye of Newt Cordial
For our latest wildly unique and original spirit, we took an array of herbs and spices, including one of the most popular spices in the world (mustard seed), and turned it into a delicious, savory liqueur. Though it wasn’t all fun and games – mustard seeds present many challenges for the distiller. First, we had to find just the right seeds. We experimented with yellow, brown, and black seeds, from different parts of the world, until we found the best ones for distilling. Then we had to develop a special distillation method to capture the seed’s highly volatile oils. After many months of experimentation and development, we created a multi-step process to capture the true essence of this herb. We also added fresh turmeric root, damiana leaf, baby dill, a bit of garlic and many other herbs and spices to created a strong, complex tincture. Then we blended in a touch of rich wildflower honey. The result is an intriguingly herbal, layered liqueur with bright spice, nuanced honey sweetness and subtle bitter notes.
Only 817 bottles were made, and this spirit has nearly disappeared. If you find it out and about, we recommend picking it up.
Delicious, aromatic and complex, with rich savory layers of mustard, turmeric, garlic and dill, balanced with honey and slight bitter notes.
Ethel’s Eye of Newt makes a delicious after-dinner sipper on its own or over ice. It also plays incredibly well with other savory flavors like cucumber, beet, chile and ginger, and with apple, cranberry and citrus. You can find a range of cocktail ideas for it on our website here.
Ethel’s Eye of Newt Cordial is 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)
Finding Ethel’s Eye of Newt Cordial
This spirit is sold out at the distillery’s tasting room but might still be found a bit in Illinois. We recommend calling first, as it is disappearing from shelves. Some possible candidates are: Binny’s Beverage Depot (some of their stores may still have it), Antioch Fine Wine & Spirits in Antioch, Andersonville Wine & Spirits in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, and Schaefer’s Fine Wines & Spirits in Skokie.