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Dec 31 2011

Happy 50th Birthday To Me… and My Half-Century Cocktail Recipe

Happy birthday to me
I don’t live in a tree
But I look like a primate
Because I am one!

Happy birthday to me! I’m 50 years old today, a fact that I’m mildly weirded out about. On the other hand, as they say, it beats the alternative. And I plan to spend my fifties exploding stereotypes about people in their fifties… so that should be fun. I think the next fifty years are going to RAWK! (Insert embarrassing mental image of middle-aged person making the devil-horns rock-and-roll gesture.)

And we invented a cocktail tonight in honor of the occasion! I’m calling it a Half Century. It’s not wildly freaky or anything — it’s roughly a whiskey sour made with lime juice and cardamom simple syrup — but it’s awfully damn delicious. And it has qualities both of a classic cocktail and a weird modern spicy cocktail, which seems appropriate for the occasion. Plus it has cardamom! Nature’s perfect food.

Half Century

It’s just:

2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. cardamom simple syrup (see below)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

Shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Guzzle.

Cardamom Simple Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup whole cardamom

Shell whole cardamom pods until you get 1/4 cup. This is going to take a while — I was at it for close to an hour, and I had help from Ingrid — but it will make your hands smell amazing. Bring water and cardamom to a boil. Stir in sugar until it’s fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in fridge for 3 days, checking frequently to make sure it still smells totally awesome. Try to resist temptation to taste it. Fail. Luxuriate in the glory that is cardamom. After 3 days, strain. (I thought this was going to be a huge pain in the nuts involving cheesecloth and whatnot, but a smallish sieve totally did the trick.) Admire the gorgeous amber color. Lick the spoon. Resist temptation to take the strained-out, sugar-saturated cardamom pods and rub them all over your body. Experiment with different cardamom-based cocktail recipes until you get schnockered. Try to figure out correct spelling of “schnockered.” Spend rest of evening driving your best friend nuts with stories about how cute your cats are.

Happy New Year, everybody!

86 comments

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  1. 1
    derek

    Happy Birthday, here’s to many more.

  2. 2
    Cipher

    Happy birthday, Greta! *squee*

  3. 3
    HerbieTheBeagle

    Happy Birthday Greta! I hope you’re good for at least another 50 years of kicking religion’s butt (I’d like to think we won’t need your efforts on behalf of atheism for that long but, sadly, I suspect we will.)

  4. 4
    Minnie The Finn, Fluffy Pink Bearer of Loose Morals

    Happy Birthday, and get off my lawn, wee lassie =)

    Exploding stereotypes is sooo much fun *toothless cackle*. And the cocktail sounds divine (I’m thinking of trading the bourbon for tequila… maybe not as good but probably just as much fun experimenting).

  5. 5
    gwen

    Happy Birthday Greta! You have finally been inducted into the sex-symbol hall of fame (you have to be 50!–I’ve belonged for 6 years now!) and Ingrid should feel honored to be the consort of a certified sex symbol!! Happiest of birthdays, can’t wait to see you to give you a kiss! :)

  6. 6
    BT Murtagh

    Happy birthday Greta!

  7. 7
    Ned Champlain

    Have a very Happy Birthday, wishing you many more happy ones, any spelling of snockered, is acceptable as long as the meaning gets across, enjoy the snocker juice

  8. 8
    Alex

    Happy Birthday!

  9. 9
    maureen.brian

    Happy Birthday, Greta!

  10. 10
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Happy birthday Greta!

  11. 11
    shouldbeworking

    Here’s to going once more around the sun. Only 50. So young, still in yor prime. I look forward to reading much more from you in the future and NOT just because I’m older than you!

  12. 12
    SallyStrange

    Many happy returns! I’m only 16 years away from reaching your level of awesomeoness. You give me an example to strive for.

  13. 13
    thaismcrc

    happy birthday and a wonderful new year!

  14. 14
    JT Eberhard

    I love you.

  15. 15
    Lou Doench

    Happy Birthday! Now I have to go buy Cardamom!

  16. 16
    Charlie

    Happy Birthday!! Thank you for your blogging and for being a voice of reason on a number of topics.

    By the way, it is my opinion that cats are evil, but I’m glad you have some new kids to enjoy.

    8^)

  17. 17
    Beauxzo

    Happy day of birth Gretna!

    courtesy of JT

  18. 18
    leatassie

    Happy birthday, Greta! Love your comments, love your cats!

  19. 19
    John Eberhard

    Best wishes for a happy birthday and for no hangover!

  20. 20
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Happy birthday!

  21. 21
    chigau (違う)

    Happy Birthday!

  22. 22
    SteveWH

    Happy birthday! And may you and Ingrid and the kitties have many, many more together, each more joyous than the last!

  23. 23
    antialiasis

    Happy birthday. I only discovered you existed a couple of weeks ago and yet you may already be my favorite atheist writer. Keep on being awesome.

  24. 24
    Diane Everhart

    Happy Birthday Greta! Thanks for the recipe. Cardamom added to list.

  25. 25
    Brian Engler

    Have a very Happy Birthday, Greta!! The world celebrates!

  26. 26
    Bryony Vaughn

    Happy birthday!

  27. 27
    Ricardo Jorge

    Happy Birthday!
    We know the next fifty will be even more awesome

  28. 28
    daveau

    Happy Birthday!

    Feel free to use my quote from a couple of years ago: “I’m 50 and I’m not wearing any pants!” Shouted from a balcony in Cancun, and I was totally sober. Just trying to embarrass the spousal unit.

  29. 29
    Steve Caldwell

    Greta,

    Happy birthday!!

    One’s 50th birthday appears to be a significant milestone – you’re now eligible to join AARP.

    But there are more milestones to come.

    When you turn 55, you will be eligible for the reduced price menu at IHOP.

    And 53 and 59 are both significant in that they are “sexy primes” (prime numbers that differs from another prime number by six).

  30. 30
    rodriguez

    Here’s a small b’day present for you: you are a stranger to me and yet you touch and inspire me. Many more healthy and happy years to you Greta!

  31. 31
    Renee

    Happy Birthday Greta! :D

  32. 32
    mrianabrinson

    Happy birthday, Greta. :)

  33. 33
    Sastra

    Happy, happy birthday! You are still younger than I am, though, for I am old enough to be your … um, cousin.

    I recall reading about a study not long ago which surveyed the ‘elderly’ (which, at this stage in history, might mean they had to be over 80) and asked them which decade of their life was the “best.” If they could do it over, would they choose to re-live their childhood, teens, 20′s, 30′s, what?

    The somewhat surprising answer was their 50′s. The vast majority thought that, all things considered, from 50 to 60 was the most fun. Analysts suggested that this might be because that’s statistically likely to be the stage in life when you are more financially secure, less worried about raising children, fairly stable, and still fairly healthy. I also suspect that, to someone in their 80′s, their self at 50 is more recognizably still ‘them’ than their remembered self at 21.

    So hey — celebrate! This decade is going to be the BEST YET EVER!!!11!!1!

    (When you turn 60, forget this post. That should be easy for you by then.)

  34. 34
    Leonard Tramiel

    ♫♪ Happy Birthday!♪♫

  35. 35
    sphex

    Happy Birthday, Greta!

    I was already an atheist when I started reading your blog (I discovered you towards the very beginning- I think via Pharyngula) but I have learned a lot, and grown a lot, thanks to your writings. Not only on atheism, but on feminism, food, fashion, and (especially) sex-positive attitudes.

    May you have another 50 wonderfully happy, healthy, and LOUD years.

  36. 36
    Christine

    Happy Birthday, Greta! Here’s to you! =)

  37. 37
    Ariel

    Happy birthday, Greta!

    I hope it feels great to reach 50 :-) (As for me, I will join this club in 3 years.) All the best to you!

  38. 38
    cry4turtles

    Happy Birthday Greta. You truly are a gift to our time. Thank you! Ariel, I got 3 years yet too. Looking forward!

  39. 39
    Blondin

    Happy birthday, Greta. Welcome to the second-half-century club.

    I love what you do. May you keep on doin’ it for many years to come.

  40. 40
    Toasted Rye

    Happy birthday. Know that you have done a fuckton of good in the world and we are all grateful for what you are.

  41. 41
    Sophie Lagacé

    Happy birthday indeed! I don’t know what those numbers mean anyway — clearly, someone’s been messing with the timeline because there is no way we”re grown-ups, right? Or at least, not middle-aged… Or at least, not — ah, no way. Stupid timeline is clearly wrong.

  42. 42
    stubby

    Happy Birthday, Greta! Don’t break a hip;-)

  43. 43
    Ben Crockett

    Happy Birthday Greta! Hope it’s a wonderful day for you!!!

  44. 44
    janiceintoronto

    Happy Birthday!

    Advise from a 59 year old Canadian woman:

    Buy a motorcycle. It will keep you young.

  45. 45
    Ubi Dubium

    Happy Birthday! I’m going to go open my jar of cardamom pods, stick my nose in it, take a long inhale and think of you.

    Someone should bottle and sell cardamom syrup, that would be awesome. You can get cardamom extract online, maybe that would be a good shortcut.

  46. 46
    Ani Sharmin

    Happy Birthday! Here’s to many more!

  47. 47
    Robert Estep

    Happy 50th you wonderful Scandinavian you!!! You and I have so much in common: gay, atheism, in our fab 50′s, heritage, cocktails, I could go on and on! I’m just thrilled to have discovered you this year. I can’t wait to read more of your blogs, discoveries, thoughts, etc… in the coming years. Keep on rockin’ the house and Skaal!!!

  48. 48
    Amelia

    Happy birthday, Greta!

  49. 49
    MG Myers

    Happy Birthday, Greta! The world is a better place because of you!

  50. 50
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Happy birthday to one of my most favourite people to read!

    Also, that cocktail sounds heavenly. WANT.

  51. 51
    otrame

    Happy Birthday, hon. Have a great one. Life after 50 is GREAT. Trust me, I know.

  52. 52
    Susan K.

    Happy Birthday, Greta! I hope it’s as awesome as you are!

  53. 53
    adamgordon

    Happy birthday!

    Pixel wishes you a happiest of birthdays as well :)

  54. 54
    NDDave

    Happy Birthday, Greta! Continue to rock!

  55. 55
    Doug Hayden

    Happy Birthday! please allow me to say you don’t appear 50…I’d have guessed 30′s-ish from a picture & maybe early 40′s-ish from hearing you speak…you’re very youthful & exuberant…and the higher guess from hearing you speak is mostly due to vocabulary, clean diction, and erudition.

    Many Happy Returns of the Day! (with apologies to Alfalfa from The Little Rascals…)

  56. 56
    Cory Albrecht (@Bytor)

    Hippo birdie two ewes!

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-a6keZ5mTmRE/THUPGQPw5ZI/AAAAAAAADko/2VOKPQvMZhg/s640/100712-2HippoFull1.jpg

  57. 57
    Lisa R.

    Cardamom and Greta Christina: both a little different, and pretty great. Happy birthday!

  58. 58
    opposablethumbs

    Happy birthday, Great (I think I should let that typo stand, really) Greta! And thank you so much for everything you write.

  59. 59
    Adam

    Happy Birthday, Greta!

  60. 60
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Happy Birthday, Greta.

  61. 61
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Happy birthday, Greta!

    I concur with janiceintoronto; buy a motorcycle! Just 3 months ago I bought my own 50th b’day present to myself – a Triumph Bonneville. Ocean blue and white, teh sexay!

  62. 62
    Bruce Winningham

    Happy Birthday, Greta.

  63. 63
    'Tis Himself

    Happy natal day to you,
    Happy natal day to you,
    Happy natal day, dear Greta,
    Happy natal day to you!

  64. 64
    Bainisg

    Happy Birthday!

    We all look forward to the next 50 years reading your inspiring words. And, inspiring cocktails!

  65. 65
    Jason Thibeault

    I’ve said it privately, but congratulations on another lap around the sun, and I hope your New Year’s Eve finds you nicely schnockered. Which is totally spelled correctly.

  66. 66
    Adam Lee

    Happy birthday, Greta! Here’s to an awesome 2012. :)

  67. 67
    Deanna Joy Lyons

    Going to buy some cardamom soon. There’s a fantastic spice shop near Pike Place Market that probably has it!

    Happy birthday Greta and Happy New Year to all!

  68. 68
    Jeffrey Soreff

    Happy birthday Greta, and many happy returns!
    And have a happy New Year!

  69. 69
    San Ban

    Happy Birthday, Greta! Hope you and Ingrid are celebrating in style (of course you are)!

  70. 70
    carolw

    Happy Birthday and Happy New Year! You are awesome and inspirational. Keep on rockin’, girl!

  71. 71
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Resist temptation to take the strained-out, sugar-saturated cardamom pods and rub them all over your body.

    Why?

  72. 72
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Also, happy getting shoved through a vagina day. ^.^

  73. 73
    Ruth Ellen

    Happy Birthday. 50s have been good to me, so far. Why do you have to take the seeds out of the pods?

  74. 74
    Jurjen S.

    Happy birthday, and happy new year (in more ways than one, I suppose). I’ve been assured that chocolate-covered strawberries are “nature’s perfect food,” but there may have been some irony intended in that claim.

  75. 75
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    A bit late, but I wish you a very happy 50th birthday.
    Cardamon IS totally awesome, but I think I’d simply give them a bad in the mortar and then sieve off the shells.
    Need to buy some fresh one…

  76. 76
    Nilos Nevertheless

    Some of my best New Year’s Eve memories ever are of your birthday parties. May your next half century exceed the first one by a factor of many in joy, health, love, peace and cardamom.

  77. 77
    Arctic Ape

    Happy new year of life, Greta! So now we know the reason of the season:)

    I’m a long-time reader and appreciate your blog very much, I just can’t cough up witty comments as much as I’d like.

  78. 78
    Nick Gotts

    Slightly Delayed Happy Birthday, Greta!

  79. 79
    LykeX

    Congratulations, Greta, on your 50 years of freedom from uterine confinement. You make me feel like there’s still hope after 30.

  80. 80
    Chris Ho-Stuart

    Happy birthday, from me and my newly arrived kitten come to live with me. I’m so glad you signed up at freethought blogs; I discovered your blog thereby.

  81. 81
    bybelknap

    Happy Birthday!
    As many others have attested, 50 is fabulous!

  82. 82
    Eva @Mostraum Viewpoint

    Happy belated birthday!

    Want to get home from work so I can start trying out your recipe. My patience will be tested, 3 days…..

    BTW, your kittens ARE cute.

  83. 83
    TV200

    A little belated, perhaps, but happy birthday.

  84. 84
    bcoppola

    Happy Slightly Belated 50th! Since you’ve come to FTB I’ve read you more often than before. Not only does this heteronormative 50+ male get some overdue consciousness-raising, badass atheism and cute cat picures, but now cocktail recipes too!

    OT: On a family xmas trip to NYC we went to a dive (in a good way) jazz bar in the West Village that turned out to be right next to Stonewall on Christopher Street. A bit of an unexpected historical/human rights struggle highlight. Bar 55, for you NYCers.

  85. 85
    Sheila Crosby

    Happy birthday Greta.

    My own 50th is approaching like the ground at the end of a parachute jump, so I’m all in favour of giving stereotypes the Mythbusters treatment.

  86. 86
    Kelly

    Wow! I just saw this! Happy birthday belated! That’s awesome that u are a NYE baby too, so am I! I rang in the new year at 38 this time! U were my favorite speaker at Skepticon and u where completely amazingly cool when I got to talk to u for a bit at the pub that night! Thanx for doing what u do!

  1. 87
    Happy Birthday to a Friend | What Would JT Do?

    [...] Head over and wish her a happy one. [...]

  2. 88
    Blogathon for SSA: Cardamom and Language | Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] was making cardamom simple syrup for a cocktail (recipe here), and having an imaginary conversation in my head where I tried to explain why I’m so [...]

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