distilling history


So today is World Gin Day, and—what’s that?—you don’t have any gin? Perhaps Samuel M'Harry’s 1809 guide to distilling can be of service. Here he provides an interesting approach to creating “Holland Gin,” also known as jenever, from rye whiskey. You’ll need a bit of unslaked lime, salt, hops, isinglass, and plenty of juniper berries. Or maybe just go to a liquor store. Either way.

Samuel M'Harry.  The practical distiller, or, An introduction to making whiskey, gin, brandy, spirits, &c. &c…1809. New-York Historical Society.


The Churchill Martini, made famous by Sir Winston Churchill


One bottle of ice cold gin

One unopened bottle of vermouth

Martini glasses

Cocktail olives


  • Stir gin and ice together.  
  • Gaze at the unopened bottle of vermouth while stirring.
  • Strain into chilled glass.
  • Add olive for garnish.

Yes, essentially what you get is a glass of gin.  Winston Churchill liked his Martinis served without the vermouth actually being added to the drink, just present in the same room. He is quoted as saying of the drink, “Glance at the vermouth bottle briefly while pouring the juniper distillate freely”.

“What will it take for women to recognize that globally, as women, we are targetted for destruction? What specific cataclysm in the history of our social subordination will forge in us, as a fundamental element of our identity, an awareness of the fact and the means by which our specific social group is being destroyed? Which outrage against us will so shake the conscience of the world that it will force us to acquire a preparedness for dealing with our own possible demise?

Woman-hating has had intense moments in history that characterize distinct periods and underlie rich cultures. For example—citing primarily western experiences—there was the mass sexual slavery of ancient Greece, the burning of millions of women in Europe as witches, mass rape and forced pregnancy of African women in the United States under slavery, nineteenth century medical and psychiatric experimentation on women, crimes against women during the Shoah, and sexual atrocities against Korean and other Asian women by Japanese soldiers during World War II. In addition to these historical and culturally specific assaults on women, there are the daily systematic ways women and girls are discriminated against and destroyed through sexual abuse. They include such violations as sexual harassment,
objectification, rape, battery, incest and child sexual abuse, denied and forced abortions, denied and forced motherhood, forced sterilization, prostitution, sexual murder, and pornography- a modern filmed entertainment version of most of these.

These and other historical atrocities against women were not perceived as systematic assaults on women as a people during the time they were taking place. They went unnoticed to almost all but their victims and re-emerged in history in different forms and as politically unintelligible and unconnected events. Women, as a group, have had no history of the atrocities against us that could leave an indelible mark on our group memory, that we could vigilantly guard against forgetting, so as not to allow them to happen again. Men have been the primary authors of history and have been careful about which parts of it they would reveal. Significantly, they hid and were silent over their crimes against women. Femicide, in the sense of monumental crimes against women, happened before, but has not been registered and historicized, as such, while it was taking place, and in a way that would endure. Then, there wasn’t a coherent theoretical framework that could recognize crimes against women as politically motivated. The closest that exists to one is feminism, but feminism - the practice of creating a cogent analysis of social life and subordination, with an associated Women’s Movement- is modern and is still largely inchoate. It did not intersect historically with these events.

Today we are closer to having an understanding of women’s subordination that is capable of registering the existence and occurrence of daily and monumental crimes against women, their political function in male supremacy, and their further implications. The Femicide in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina is the first Femicide to be grasped and documented as such, while it is taking place, because it is happening during a time when feminism exists to recognize it. The genocide in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia is an assault on women. Croatian and Bosnian Moslem women and girls are being systematically destroyed in Serbian rape/death camps [tw here for graphic depictions of violence against womyn- Serbian fascists [in the early 1990s were] committing genocide through mass rape and serial rape ending in death and mass rape and serial rape to produce what they consider Serbian babies to populate and maintain the Greater Serbian state. Corpses are also raped. Women’s breasts are sliced off and their wombs ripped out. Sometimes the women and children are burned alive. These rapes are committed on the Serb-occupied territories of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, in different types of concentration camps, and in rape/death camps, in which the victims who survive the initial massacres and deportations are interned. If women are already pregnant prior to this assault, their bellies are ripped open since those fetuses are not Serb. Birthing women are left to die in ditches]]. Now is the time, and this is the event against women that should shake the conscience of the world. The outrage that is happening to these women specifically, here and now, should also bring visibility to the sexual abuse and subordination of women everywhere.” - Natalie Nenadic, p460-462, ‘Femicide: A Framework for Understanding Genocide’, from Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed (1996)


10 powerful works of art that are out to change the world 

More than anything, art is a concept: It’s an abstract idea embodied in a visual form that can drive meaningful and lasting social change. In offering a critique of the world’s maladies, art has become iconic in distilling specific moments in history. It cements injustice into our collective memory, but also propels us to move forward. 

Here are 10 pieces that want to change the world

And imperialist interference is exactly what it was: the Allied Powers fully intended to create manageable chunks of resource-rich land in the form of discrete nations… from the perspective of the imperialized, strife was written onto the region by the exploitative pens of Empire.
—  commenting on the fomation of the modern Middle East its randomly assigned borders, an excerpt from “Tremble the Devil: Terrorisms Many Faces Distilled Into Stories”