20190416

Herbs of Wall Street Vodka

Okko had just started playing Zelda – Link to the Past. I was helping him get pass the hard parts and felt appreciated. My residency was coming to an end and I was driven to do all the small little things I was inspired to do when we arrived. It was a Saturday and after watching Okko play trough the morning, I felt like a bad parent and decided to take him on a quest.

“We are going to collect herbs for a potion” I said. “Just like Zelda”

“Herbs? In Manhattan? Yeah right.”

We swapped trains at Union square and got off at the Wall Street station. Okko acted like he was bored and it was a chilly day, so we went for bagels. I took a brown paper bag from the store for collecting the herbs and attempted to boost morale by telling stories of how the island used to be covered with plants and that a hundred years ago there were 100 000 horses in the city. He concentrated on the bagel. Right outside the shop, we spotted a flower basket decoration which attached to street light.

“Just like Zelda”. I celebrated.

“You can’t even reach them.” Okko replied.

I spotted an second basket closer to ground level but it turned out that flowers were plastic. I kept ranting about herbs but Okko remained unimpressed. Tourist flocking to the Charging Bull statue pushed us deeper. They were all queuing to pose under the bulls testicles. Okko was curious but after witnessing the performance repeated identically by the ten first people, we continued on our way. All the people were around the statue which made the streets feel broader.

The first real plant we spotted was around the corner, a common holly. It was a big bush planted in an ornamented vase which read 1692. It was high, next to a buildings entry and I had to reach for the leaves. Okko was embarrassed and didn’t want people to see me messing with the plant. From the stairs I spotted a white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) which I know contains a lot of vitamin C.

Okkos confidence grew, he mentioned how in Zelda the player has to hack their way trough bushes to claim diamonds. He spotted an aronia close to the cedar. We didn’t mind the other tourists anymore and headed to the gigantic christmas tree in front of the stock exchange. The heat of the city and sunlight reflecting from the skyscraper windows had disturbed the spruces senses. Some parts of it were drying out and others developing fresh needles. Right as we stood under it a very small branch fell off and landed on our feet.

We returned the Charging Bull and took a spin around the small park behind it. As a highlight of the trip we spotted chives, which perhaps was planted by the occupy campers or maybe escaped from a billionaires salad. We tasted it and smiled. I packed all the herbs and we headed to back to Brooklyn. I crammed the best parts into two vodka bottles. The other was a gift Honza. I prepared them as his son Gilbert played Zelda with Okko.

“Can we have a taste?” Gilbert asked. Okko smirked.

I sampled the vodka in two weeks, after it’s colour had changed. It tastes good. We tried it out it with friends two months later, after we returned to Helsinki and I’m having a taste as I write this. It smells faintly like resin, it is spiky but with an earthy tone. Like freshly cut grass. The taste has a hint of garlic and there is a hue of sourness to it. It improves my HP by 50.