|Book excerpt from The Cocktail Hour Garden by C.L. Fornari
Some say that the cocktail hour began in Paris with the custom of pausing after the workday for a small glass of absinthe. This highly alcoholic, green-hued drink – made from herbs such as wormwood, fennel and green anise – was first sold in the late 18th century as a cure-all. In the early 19th century the potent beverage became popular as a before-dinner aperitif. So many people looked forward to sipping their glass of absinthe at this time of the evening that the period became known as l’heure vert, the green hour.
Although to this date I haven’t tried absinthe, it’s not surprising that I’m in favor of the concept of a green hour. For a gardener such as myself, green isn’t the color of an intoxicating drink but the color of healthy plants. I’d estimate that the average garden would be over 80% green if we charted its component colors. Yet green also exemplifies other qualities that we hold dear.
Green can mean lush, verdant, luxuriant and fertile. It’s a term for a park, playing field or neighborhood common space – or a way to describe something natural, pure, eco-friendly and organic. Green also implies freshness or something that’s young and new. Who wouldn’t want a period of each day devoted to these qualities?
I propose that the best place to celebrate a return of the green hour is among plants, in the garden. We can all use a time to pause among the surrounding greenery and count our blessings, whether it’s with a cup of tea, a cocktail, or no beverage-in-hand at all.