Holy Hangover Day


Santa Bibiana in Rome

Today, December 2, is the feast day of St. Bibiana, the patron saint against hangovers. This Christian virgin and martyr received this honor in a roundabout way. After various attempts to make Bibiana renounce her Catholic faith, she was scourged to death. Bibiana was buried in the garden near her home on the Aventine Hill in Rome, and her home likewise became a church. Soon after the garden was reputed to grow “healing herbs.” In addition to patronizing tipplers with hangovers, Bibiana is also the saint to seek when suffering from headaches or epilepsy.

Could this be mere pious legend, invented for no other reason than the fact that “Bibiana” resembles the word “Bibulus,” which means “fond of drinking”? That is one explanation I have heard, but I personally don’t buy it. For one thing, it would have made more sense to anoint a Saint Crapulus, since believe it or not the word for “hung over” in Latin is crapulatus, not bibulus. Either way, I think it wise not to test St. Bibiana’s efficacy by getting  a hangover just to see how much of a difference her intercession makes on your throbbing head and sensitive eyes.

Tonight, “hair of the dog” drinks would seem to be appropriate, starting with the classic Bloody Mary:

Bloody Mary
1½ oz. vodka
3 oz. tomato juice
1 dash lemon juice
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 or 3 drops Tabasco hot sauce
salt and pepper
lemon or lime wedge, celery stick, or olives for garnish (optional)
Place all ingredients except garnishes in a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish: the more, the merrier.

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the toast: “Through the intercession of St. Bibiana, may we never need the intercession of St. Bibiana.”


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Pick a Patron for Our New Book and Win a Prize!


We are pleased to announce our first-ever Giveaway. Here’s how it works:

At the request of my publisher and readers, I am currently writing a sequel to Drinking with the Saints. The new book, entitled Drinking with Your Patron Saint, will offer a wide array of drink suggestions for celebrating the holy patrons and patronesses of places, things, occupations, maladies, and the like. But because patron saints do not need to be determined by the Magisterium (most of them were chosen by folk custom), I would like to make the final chapter a list of new ideas for patron saints.

The new suggestions can range from the serious to the silly. An example of the serious: St. Louis Martin (the father of Therese of Lisieux) suffered from mental illness at the end of his life and can therefore be a patron saint of those similarly afflicted. An example of the silly: St. James the Less as the patron saint of light beer.

But I need your help in coming up with new saintly patronages, and the more the merrier! You can propose a connection based on the life of a saint, or you can simply make a bad pun on the sound of their name, like St. Isidore as the patron saint of entryways (get it?) or St. Peter Chanel as the patron saint of good smells.

There are only two rules:
1) The idea has to be your own—no cribbing from the internet.
2) The proposed patron has been duly canonized or beatified by the Church—Sorry, but we can’t name Bear Bryant the patron saint of Alabama football.

Best of all, you could win a prize! We will be giving away a “Gold Package” for the Greatest Number of Helpful Entries and a “Silver Package” for the Most Creative. The winner of the Gold Package will receive a signed copy of Drinking with the Saints and the complete line up of DWTS merchandise: an apron, a mixing glass, a wine charm set, a pair of cufflinks, and a set of coasters, with a total retail value of over $100! (see our new Facebook shop).  The winner of the Silver Package will receive a signed copy of Drinking with the Saints and a DWTS wine charm set, pair of cufflinks, and coasters, with a total retail value of $60.

And, we will also be giving away lots of consolation prizes, based on merchandise availability at the time. Finally, all winners great and small will be formally acknowledged for their contribution in the front matter of the new book.

To enter, just submit your ideas on the DWTS Facebook page, and feel free to like or react to the entries of others as well.

But hurry: the contest ends in three weeks—December 16, 2016, to be precise. We want you to receive your prizes in time for Christmas Day.

So now you have something fun to think about during Thanksgiving and Advent with your friends and family and to pick up some great gifts for under the tree!

Catholic Drinks for Election Night


Like other Americans, Catholics have agonized during this election season over some unsavory choices, but come this Election Night on November 8, it is time to wash away the bitter aftertaste with a flood of appealing refreshments.  The following is a list of saintly drinks to lift your spirits (or at least numb them) as the votes are being counted.

Option #1: Honor Christ the King
A Drinking With The Saints semi-original, the Rex Regum (King of Kings) cocktail celebrates the only ruler who keeps His promises. The Crown Royal whisky recalls our Lord’s kingship; the Drambuie is made from a recipe linked to “Bonnie Prince” Charles Stuart, Catholic claimant to the English throne and grandson of the last Catholic king of Great Britain; the grenadine is made from pomegranates, which are a symbol of self-giving (perfect for our sacrificial King); and the lemon juice symbolizes the bitter gall offered to Our Lord during the crucifixion–plus it adds a bright complexity to the flavor profile.

Tonight, toast with a hardy “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”

Rex Regum
1¾ oz. oz. Crown Royal Canadian whisky
½ oz. Drambuie
¼ oz. grenadine
¼ oz. lemon juice
Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Option #2: Honor the Patroness of the United States
Lest you lose hope, turn to your Blessed Mother. The Patroness of the U.S.A. is Oour-lady-of-washingtonur Lady of the Immaculate Conception. If the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe was able to convert the descendants of the Aztecs, surely under the title of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception she can do the same for the descendants of the Puritans and the offspring of the “huddled masses” that comprise our great nation.

And so tonight, toast to the Blessed Virgin’s immaculate purity with a White Lady. There are several variations of this smooth classic: here is the simplest.

White Lady
2 oz. gin
1 oz. triple sec or Cointreau
1 oz. lemon juice
Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Option #3: Ignore the Secular
If you’ve become too jaded to think any more about politics, turn your thoughts from Washington D.C. to Rome. November 8 is the Vigil of the Feast of the Dedication of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior (more commonly known as St. John Lateran), one of Rome’s seven great basilicas and, indeed, the highest ranking church in the Catholic world. (Contrary to a popular misconception, St. John Lateran is the official cathedral of the Pope and hence it–and not St. Peter’s– holds the rank of Archbasilica.)

St. John Lateran’s Roman identity can be honored tonight with a delicious Pallini Martini made from a local favorite, limoncello.

Pallini Martini pallini-limoncello-italian-lemon-liqueur-2-500x500
¾ oz. Pallini Limoncello
¾ oz. citrus vodka (regular vodka will suffice)
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
sugar (for the rim)
1 lemon peel (for garnish)
Rim a well-chilled cocktail glass with sugar. Pour all liquid ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into the cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Option #4: Think Local
Or, eschew the national and embrace the local. Is there a popular state or regional beer? How about a new microbrewery in town? Is there a local wine, cider, or liquor you have always been meaning to try? How about a family favorite? If charity begins at home, so does a healthy body politic.


Final Advice
For the first round, raise your glasses high and quote Psalm 145(146):2-3: “Put not your trust in princes, in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.”

For the second round, change it up a bit. If Hillary wins, say: “Put not your trust in the FBI’s Most Wanted, in the Clinton Foundation, in whom there is no salvation.” If Donald wins, “Put not your trust in princes of industry, in baby men, in whom there is no salvation.”

Like what you see? Be sure to get a copy of  Drinking With The Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour (Regnery 2015)  and like us on facebook.

Spike in Sales?


Some good news from my publisher.  Over the last week, the “sell-through” of Drinking With The Saints (the sales to actual customers at stores and/or online retailers) increased by 288% from 48 to 186. That’s the biggest week of sales since last December–Christmastime!

Thanks be to God for this increase, but the lingering question is why it happened at all. There was no special advertising, no noteworthy mention of the book or its author in the news or the blogosphere: in short, nothing special to induce a surge in sales. It is true that I am giving talks in Florida and Colorado in November and December (more on that some other time), but the sales increase is nationwide and not regional.

So why the spike? I have three rather weak theories of my own:

1. Preparation for an ill-advised drinking binge on All Saints’ Day (November 1).
2. The current election has some people turning to God and to the bottle–at the same time.
3. Books purchased in May 2015 (launchdate) need to be replaced because they are so stained with spilled cocktail mixes and red wine.


What are your theories? Sound off!


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.



A Drink for Catholic Pants Day

Saint Pantaleon

Today could be called Catholic Pants Day, not because there is such a thing as Catholic pants (is there?) but because the English language is indebted to a Catholic saint for the word “pants,” and his feast happens to be today.

Saint Pantaleon of Nicomedia (d. 303) was a nobleman and the Roman Emperor’s physician when he apostatized. Fortunately, he was brought back to the Faith by a holy priest who convinced him that Jesus Christ was the greatest of all physicians. When a persecution began, no amount of torture could induce Pantaleon to abandon his Savior again, and thus the former apostate died a holy martyr. In the Greek East, Pantaleon is honored as one of the “Great Martyrs”; in the Latin West, he is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, invoked for consumptive diseases.

But what does this have to do with pants? Nothing, really. But centuries later Pantaleon’s cult was popular in Venice, partly because his name resembles the Venetian battle cry Piante Lione (“Plant the Lion”). Over time, the term Pantalone came to designate a Venetian character in Italian comedy; and since the character generally appeared wearing distinctive Venetian breeches, the breeches came to be known as pantaloons, or”pants” for short.

Saint Pantaleon’s Day thus presents us with a double irony. First, our most common word for trousers comes from a saint who probably never wore or saw a pair in his life. Second, given the temperature on July 27, we celebrate the eponymous patron of pants on one of the days we are least inclined to wear them.

In honor of the odd migration of the saint’s name, how about this Prohibition-era libation: Ants in the Pants

Ants in the Pants Cocktail
1 oz. gin
½ oz. Grand Marnier
½ oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash lemon juice
Pour all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.

So tonight, say a prayer that all those who have fallen away from the Faith may come back like St. Pantaleon. Then, fill your glass to the brim and shout, Piante Lione! (Pants are optional.)



Great Drinks for Saints Peter and Paul

June 29 is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. These two Apostles founded the Church in Rome, turning the capitol of Roman imperialism into the headquarters of Christianity. To this day, Rome’s citizens celebrate the Feast of Peter and Paul as a replacement of the city’s mythical and fratricidal founders, Romulus and Remus.

The Gibson
Let’s begin the celebration with St. Peter. In Drinking With The Saints we recommend a Gibson St. PeterGibson (a martini with pearl onions) because of a colorful Italian legend about St. Peter pulling his unpleasant mother from the fires of hell by the strands of an onion. Make your Gibson the way you would a gin or vodka martini and simply add a pearl onion or two, which you can usually find next to the olives at the supermarket. For added festivity, we took two toothpicks and make the Keys of St. Peter out of them: a silver one, made from duct tape, and a gold one, made from yellow electrical tape. I shaved off a little bit of wood at the center of each toothpick, glued them together, and voila! (or rather, Ecce!).

Gibson Pearl Onion Keys

Still confused? Watch me make a Gibson on YouTube.

Brandy Milk Punch
For St. Paul, try a Brandy Milk Punch. Paul uses milk as a metaphor in his writings, and Brandy Milk Punchbrandy or “burnt wine” is related to the wine that he recommends for the stomach ailment plaguing St. Timothy. Since we do not include the Brandy Milk Punch in Drinking With The Saints, here is a good recipe from bonappetit.com:

2 oz. brandy
1 1/2 oz. heavy cream
1 oz. simple syrup
1/2 vanilla extract
Pour all ingredients except nutmeg into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a highball filled with ice and top with a pinch of nutmeg.

And watch me make a Brandy Milk Punch on YouTube.

If you don’t want to try both drinks in one evening, you can wait until June 30 for the Brandy Milk Punch, since practically speaking more attention is paid to St. Peter today whole St. Paul is commemorated tomorrow. And not to tempt you, but the Brandy Milk Punch is technically a “morning cocktail” like a mimosa or Bloody Mary.

Happy feasting!


Drinking With Dad: A Holy Happy Hour for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up, and although it is not on the Church calendar, good luck trying to ignore it. To help you surprise Dad with the ultimate dinner and drinking party, we are combining several ideas from nearby feast days found in our Drinking With The Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour. If the father or husband in your life enjoys a strong beverage, he’ll be thrilled with this thoughtful and tasty menu instead of another necktie.

The Cocktail Before Dinner
“The Great Basil” is a DWTS original named after St Basil the Great, whose feast day is June 14/January 2. St. Basil was so tough that when an imperial agent threatened to rip out his liver if he didn’t cow tow to the Arian policies of the Emperor, the illness-ridden Basil coolly replied, “Good. My liver’s been giving me trouble for years.” When the astonished prefect, who was accustomed to Arian bootlickers, said that no one had ever talked to him like that before, Basil replied, “Perhaps you’ve never talked to a Christian bishop before.”

The Great Basil is inspired by Basil’s name as well as his diet of herbs and “vapid wine.” This refreshing drink is perfect on a hot summer’s day while keeping watch over a sizzling grill.

Great Basil CocktailGreat Basil tops
1 lime wedge
1 tsp. simple syrup
3-6 fresh basil leaves
2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. gin
basil sprig (for garnishing)
Squeeze lime into shaker. Add basil leaves and simple syrup, and muddle gently. Add ice, Lillet, and gin and shake vigorously at least forty times. Pour into an old-fashioned glass or a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

During Dinner harp_lager
Depending on Dad’s tastes or your main course, you’ll want a beer or wine with dinner. For beer, try a trusty Harp Lager, which we recommend for the Feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian (feast day: June 18/June 9). St. Ephrem was a tremendously energetic deacon whose numerous hymns, poems, sermons, and biblical commentaries earned him the nickname “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”

For wine, think Bordeaux. Saint Paulinus of Nola (feast day: June 22) was a bishop inBordeaux wine cork southern Italy, but he hailed from Bordeaux, France, a region distinguished even in Roman times for its wines; and as a Roman nobleman, Paulinus most likely managed his own vineyards and wine presses on his estates in Aquitaine prior to his ordination. A red Bordeaux will also pair really nicely with whatever red meat you might be having.

Whatever you do, just make sure that you don’t drink and revel late into the night at someone’s grave and pour out libations in their memory: judging from his writings, St. Paulinus really disliked that.

An After-Dinner Drink
This year, Father’s Day falls on the feast of the twin brothers Gervasius and Protasius (June 19). These early martyrs are perhaps most famous for something that happened to them after their death, when the miraculous discovery of their bodies by St. Ambrose led to a stunning defeat of the Roman Empress Justina, an Arian heretic who had been trying to confiscate several of Ambrose’s churches. To celebrate the twins’ posthumous victory over the religiously insane Empress, try our semi-original Royal Nut Job. The “royal” is on account of the Crown Royal rye, the “nut” is for the Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, and the “job” is for the Irish, who usually need one. The drink is so delicious that you might even able to skip dessert.

Royal Nut Job
Royal Nut Job.jpg 1 oz. Frangelico
1 oz. Crown Royal
1 oz. Irish cream
Stir all ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.


Pope Francis: A Wedding Without Wine is Shameful


Pope Francis made international news on Wednesday for his robust endorsement of wine. During his weekly Angelus address, the Holy Father interpreted the passage in St. John’s Gospel on the Wedding Feast of Cana. The full text of the Pope’s remarks has not yet been released in English, but here are some of the highlights according to the media:

  • “How is it possible to celebrate the wedding and have a party if you lack what the prophets indicated was a typical element of the messianic banquet?”
  • “Water is necessary to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the feast.”
  • “A wedding feast lacking wine embarrasses the newlyweds – Imagine finishing the wedding feast drinking tea! It would be shameful!”

As Religion News Service wryly noted, while some have begun to wonder whether the Pope is Catholic, he has at least made one thing clear: he’s not a Baptist. And if he had said “iced tea” instead of “tea” in that last remark, his burn of old-school Southern Baptists would have been complete.


It’s National Christian Cheer Day! (or it should be)


Today, May 26, is the feast of the adorable St. Philip Neri (1515-1595). Even as a boy Philip was so kind and lovable that he was nicknamed Pippo buono or “good little Phil.” As an adult, Philip would wander through the rough parts of Rome and ask, “Well, my brothers! When shall we begin to do good?” His disarming charm led to the conversion of the toughest thugs.

Philip had what the Italians call festività, an infectious joy and humor. The saint held that being cheerful “is the true way to advance in every virtue.” His long experience in directing souls, he said, had taught him “that in spiritual matters cheerful men were much more easy to guide than the melancholy.” Consequently, Philip preserved “perpetual cheerfulness” in himself and went to great lengths to encourage it in others. His room, where he received strangers as if they were his long-lost children at all hours of the day and night, became known as the “Shelter of Christian Mirth.”

Philip sometimes gave his penitents a playful slap on the cheek, saying “It is not you I am beating, but the devil!” Like a zany Italian uncle, he pulled their hair, caressed their faces, boxed their ears, and held their heads near his heart, all of which caused great joy and consolation. He also went to great lengths to appear foolish in the eyes of the world. Philip shaved off half his beard, wore goofy costumes, skipped along the streets as an old man, and once solemnly stroked the beard of a Swiss Guard. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman, “If ever there was a saint who set his face against humbug, it was Saint Philip.”

Philip also had a burning love for God, literally. Once when he was praying a mystical ball of fire entered his mouth and lodged in his chest. Philip’s heart grew so aflame with divine fervor that he had to rip open his clothes and cool himself on the stone floor. When he rose, there was a painless swelling as large as a man’s fist next to his heart. An autopsy after the saint’s death would disclose the source of the protrusion. Over his heart, which had expanded with the love of God, two of Philip’s ribs were dislodged and curved in the form of an arch.

Tonight, in honor of this warm-hearted saint, have a Heart Warmer:

Heart Warmer  Heart Warmer 2
1½ oz. Kahlua
1 oz. vodka
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. milk
Pour all ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice and stir until very cold.

By a remarkable coincidence today is also Red Nose Day, a fundraising event sponsored by Comic Relief to end poverty in which people buy and wear a clownish red nose and the proceeds go to charity. How I wish could join in this charming tomfoolery (St. Philip would have loved it!) but alas, as several Catholic bishops have pointed out, some of those proceeds end up going to powerful organizations that support abortions worldwide. Sigh. It looks like I’ll have to find another way to make my nose red tonight.