Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember the 5th of November - The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, and The Vendetta Cocktail

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

A corrupt government in a land where just a few institutions ruled all, where great wars devastated populations, and where the winds carried the seeds of an impending class’s headlines maybe...but this was England in the 1600's.

On this day in 1605 a plot by a group of Catholic conspirators lead by Robert Catesby to place 36 barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the House of Lords was foiled. Disillusioned by the continued persecution of Catholics by the English monarchy, their intent was to assassinate King James I of England while he attended the annual State Opening of Parliament. Also in attendance would be most of the lawmakers of the land, the country's senior judges and most of the Protestant aristocracy.  Their goal was to blow up the building killing all inside and to install King James's daughter Princess Elizabeth, on the throne as a Catholic Queen.

Over the months it took to come up with the plan, some of the conspirators (concerned with the great loss of life that the bombing of Parliament would cause) were having second thoughts.  An anonymous letter was sent to an English nobleman informing him of the planned attack.

On the 5th of November, 1605 conspirator Guy Fawkes was captured in the basement of Parliament as he stood ready to light the fuse on the gunpowder.  The rest of the conspirators were quickly captured and executed.

While it could be argued that the fuse to the gunpowder was actually lit by King Henry VIII, who following the Catholic Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce broke away from the Catholic church and removed all papal power in England.  In the coming years, England would sway back and forth between the Catholic and Protestant churches.

Mary I, attempted to violently restore England to Catholicism through severe Protestant persecution, when Elizabeth I ascended the throne in 1558, she began a systematic course of repression and persecution of Catholics within her country to the point where the mass was abolished and any hint of sympathy to the Pope could lead to harsh penalties.  Years later, under the reign of James I, those penalties would be reduced.

Today, in England, to celebrate the discovery of the plot and the saving of the King and Parliament there are large fireworks displays and huge bonfires with the effigy of Guy Fawkes (The Guy) being burned in each of them.  It is one of the biggest parties of the year.


The Guy Fawkes image has been used most recently in the movie "V for Vendetta" and of course by the internet activist group "Anonymous".

“People should not be afraid of their governments,
Governments should be afraid of their people.” V

The Historical Inebriant: The Vendetta Cocktail


¾ oz fresh squeezed orange juice
¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ oz vanilla syrup
¼ oz pimento dram
1½ oz tequila blanco
dash aromatic bitters
8 drops herbsaint

Mix all with 6oz fine crushed ice in top-down drinks mixer; alternately blend with 6oz regular ice in 5-one second full pulses. Pour into footed goblet or double rocks, garnish with lime wheel.

If you like making Tiki drinks at home please visit the site this drink comes from. It's a fun site with excellent Tiki drink ideas:

For more on the Gunpowder Plot:

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