Back-to-School Catholic Drinks

A new academic year is fast upon us. Parents with children in public or private school will want a drink to celebrate; parents who homeschool (like yours truly) will need a drink to cope. Either way, there is no better place to turn for inspiration than the following three Saints’ drinks.

Saint Cassian
CassianofimolaCassian of Imola (4th c.) was a schoolmaster near Ravenna, Italy who was sentenced to a deviously appropriate death. Cassian’s hands were tied behind his back and his two hundred students were instructed to stab him with their styli, the metal pens used by Roman boys to write on their wax tablets. Cassian is said to have urged them on as a sign of his willingness to suffer martyrdom; I like to imagine him criticizing their technique as a way of heightening their rage.

In honor of all the teachers who have ever had to put up with your little brat, make yourself a “Morning, Teacher” and pray to St. Cassian with a toast to their health and sanity.

Morning, Teacher
1 oz. bourbon or rye
¾ oz. brandy
2 dashes aromatic bitters
¼ oz. pastis or anisette
¼ oz. orange curaçao
¼ tsp. sugar
1 lemon twist for garnish
Put all ingredients except soda and lemon into a chilled shaker and shake forty times. Pour into a highball glass filled with ice and top with soda. Garnish with lemon twist.

Saint Catherine Alexandria
St.-Catherine-of-AlexandriaSt. Catherine (282-305) was a noble young woman from Alexandria who had consecrated her virginity to the Lord and who had a mystical vision in which she saw a ring being placed on her finger by Christ. Catherine upbraided the Roman Emperor Maximinus for his persecution of Christians, and the Emperor responded by assembling seventy pagan scholars to refute her. The learned Christian maiden, however, converted them to the Faith instead, which is why she is now the patron saint of philosophers and students.

The semi-sweet and complex Bijou Cocktail is a nice way to honor St. Catherine. “Bijou” means “small and elegant,” but it is from a Breton word for a ring, like the one mystically place on St. Catherine’s finger. School has just started, and see all the things you’re already learning when you drink with the saints?

Tonight, raise a glass and ask St. Catherine to help  your child learn at least enough to make all the sacrifices you make for their education worthwhile.

Bijou Cocktail
1½ oz. gin
½ oz. green chartreuse
½ oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 cherry for garnish
Pour all ingredients except cherry into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.


Saint Thomas Aquinas
Thomas AquinasCardinal Bessarion said it best: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was “the most saintly of learned men and the most learned of saints.” An Italian nobleman who had to escape a tower (where his family had imprisoned him) in order to fulfill his vocation to the priesthood, Saint Thomas was a Dominican friar and a professor at the University of Paris. When he was canonized, Pope John XXII declared that he had wrought as many miracles as he had written articles in the Summa Theologiae, and it is a LOT. Thomas Aquinas is a Doctor of the Church, the patron saint of Catholic schools and Catholic students, and arguably the greatest theologian of all time.

Let us also hope that he has a sense of humor. There is an old rumor that this wise medieval saint was heavyset, and so to honor the Angelic Doctor, mix yourself a Fat Friar.

Fat Friar
1½ oz. Bénédictine
1½ oz. apple brandy
¼ oz. triple sec
¼ oz. lemon juice
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass. Note: we tried to cheat by using regular brandy instead of apple brandy, but it made the drink too sweet.

Pray to this patron saint of schools and universities that your child’s alma mater is at least half as good as its brochures say it is.

Michael P. Foley is the author of Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour (Regnery, 2015). Be sure to like us on Facebook! We have new activities and giveaways coming up soon.