But as our syrup started to boil, we were the ones doing the squirming. Turns out boiling ferns smell like a rancid gym locker. Jerry doesn’t specify how long to boil them so we went as long as we could without provoking our officemates to homicide. Then we added sugar to make it a syrup along with egg whites, which cooked instantly, adding a white, stringy aspect to our jockstrap stew.
We let the whole mixture steep in a mason jar and once it was cool, strained it and added orange blossom water. Our Sirop de Capillaire was now fully weaponized. When we added a glass of the stuff to the beer, wine and brandy, the disturbance in the liquids wafted off a foul, nose-hair-curling stank. We were pretty sure we had ruined a perfectly good batch of beer-wine-brandy.
Now all that was left to add was the juice of one lemon, a lemon rind, fresh grated nutmeg and “a bit of toasted bread.” Bread. Was it supposed to be a garnish? A crisp piece hanging daintily from the side of the glass to be snacked on in between sips? We tried to convince ourselves this was the right interpretation, but couldn’t do it. Every way we read it, it seemed like JT wanted us to put the bread directly into the liquid. Maybe it was supposed to distract from the drink’s distinctly gnarly aroma.
A minute after our beautifully crisped pumpernickel toast hit the liquid, it was a soggy mess of clumps that looked like… well we won’t say what it looked like. Except to say that it looked like this: