Erwin Schrödinger’s birthday is August 12, so for that we need a Schrödinger’s cat cocktail and present the Mezza Morta. Schrodinger was a real physics heavyweight during the first half of the 20th century. To a physicist, of course, he’s most famous for Schrödinger’s Equation, but to the rest of us he’s best known for the paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat. So when you need a Schrödinger cocktail it’s time to mix the Mezza Morta honor of his cat. The name, you see, means “half dead” in Italian, which was pretty much the how the cat spent time.
Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria on August 12, 1887. By 1906 he was a student at the University of Vienna and completed his doctorate in 1910. He finished what amounts to a postdoc position today in 1914, but then World War came along and he ended up as an artillery officer between 1914 and 1918.
Starting in 1920 his life as a professor began and he moved between positions at various European universities. By 1933, though, he decided to leave Germany because he strongly disapproved of the Nazi’s antisemitism. He bounced around between places like the University of Oxford and University of Graz. He also had problems with his unconventional lifestyle, living with both his wife and mistress, and eventually settled at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Ghent.
Along the way, Schrodinger became one of the most influential figures in the development of quantum mechanics. Modern quantum mechanics was created in 1925 when Heisenberg, Born and Jordan developed what is called matrix mechanics and Schrödinger invented wave mechanics. Schrödinger’s equation was born and that earned him the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Paul Dirac.
That’s all well and good, but not a lot of help for drinking. Happily, though, in a series of letters with Einstein Schrödinger posed a thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s Cat. We’re not going to get into the minutiae of quantum mechanics here, but suffice it to say that under one interpretation the cat in the box is simultaneously alive and dead. Until you look, or as physicists say the quantum superposition ends and reality resolves into one possibility or the other.
The Mezza Morta Cocktail
We’re looking to the cat rather than the equation today, to the theme of a Schrödinger’s cat cocktail. It takes a lot less math, which is probably wise while drinking. Strangely though, nobody seems to have named a cocktail Schrödinger’s Cat. Hence, we come to the Mezza Morta cocktail as being appropriately indeterminate, just like the cat.
Mezza Morta, you see, translates from Italian as “half dead” which is just what the cat is until observed. We have Sarah Anne Clarke at the Margaux Café and Bar in Pittsburgh to thank for the drink. We reached out to her, and she explained that she broke out her Mr. Potato Head playbook and created it using the Corpse Reviver No. 2 as inspiration.
The minor challenge with the Mezza Morta recipe is that it requires something you may not have handy at the moment: Le Verger French Terroir Liqueur. It’s a product made using Calvados, apples, peaches and cherries and finishes out at a 25% ABV. Absolutely delicious, but substituting straight Calvados will not work – they’re entirely different. As Ms. Clarke puts it, “Calvados is is NOT an acceptable substitute for the Le Verger, as one is a base spirit and one is a sweetened liqueur. I’d recommend something like Berentzen Apple Liqueur as a substitute.”
Of course if neither of these products is handy we can advise turning elsewhere in honor of Schrödinger and the half-dead cat. If you bet on the cat being alive we’d turn to the Martinez cocktail that we covered for World Cat Day. If the quantum state of the cat has decomposed to dead we would, of course, recommend the Corpse Reviver No. 2, which was, after all, the inspiration for the Mezza Morta.
Mezza Morta Cocktail
- ¾ oz Mezcal
- ¾ oz Dry Curacao Recommended specific product is Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
- ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz Lillet Blanc
- ½ oz Le Verger French Terroir Liqueur
- 2 dash Orange bitters
- Add all ingredients to your trusty cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
- Strain into pre-chilled coupe glass. No garnish.
- Pour in the direction of your liver.