Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith (16 February 1878 – 18 September 1951), was a British artist, illustrator, writer and occultist. She is best known for illustrating the Rider-Waite tarot deck, from which we took the inspiration for our own Tarot deck.
To honour Pixie’s work creating the iconic Tarot art we all know and love, we have created a special non-alcoholic cocktail to mark her birthday. It contains sorrel — a flavour familiar to Pixie after her youth spent in Jamaica — and gold dust, for a bit of magic. Suggested reading while you make this recipe: The Imaginary Worlds episode about Pixie Colman Smith.
From the transcript of the episode:
“Pixie grew up in Brooklyn. She traveled a lot with her father who had business in Jamaica and England. And she came from a distinguished family. Her grandfather was the first mayor of Brooklyn. Her father was an artist. Her mother was a writer. They were friends with literary icons like William Butler Yeats.
There were a lot of rumours at the time that Pamela was adopted, or that one her parents was not fully Caucasian, or that she was the product of an affair. Either way, white people looked at Pamela and thought, you can’t be one of us.
Tarot cards had started out in the 15th century as a parlour game for Italian aristocrats. The cards made their way to France where aristocrats were using them for divine guidance. But they weren’t common in the modern world until one of the members of The Golden Dawn -- Arthur Edward Waite -- saw an exhibit on tarot cards and hired Pamela to design a deck.
Pixie was not thrilled with this assignment. She had 6 months to create 80 cards, and she complained to a friend that it was a “big job for very little cash.” But she was intrigued by the idea, and dove in.
They have become the bestselling tarot deck of all time is because they are universal. In every country, there's a Cinderella story, there's a King or queen story, there's an exile story, and each one of these cards tells the story of a society where you belong. There's a hierarchy and there's a fall from grace."
Note: Gold dust is available online or at specialty baking stores! Grapefruit can counteract the effects of some medication. If you need to, you can swap in orange zest!
- 6g dried sorrel or hibiscus tea
- 2g crushed allspice berries
- Zest of 1/2 grapefruit
- 200ml lime
- 240g unrefined cane sugar
- 4g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp pearlized gold dust
- Mix the sorrel or hibiscus tea and the crushed allspice berries and the grapefruit zest with 480ml of water.
- Simmer for 10 mins, strain and cool.
- Mix the unrefined cane sugar and the cocoa powder with 240ml of water.
- Heat water to a simmer, stir in dry ingredients until dissolved, let sit to cool.
- Mix 60ml of the Tea Potion with 30ml of the Syrup, 25ml of lime juice, and 1/4 tsp of gold dust.
- Stir with ice.
- Strain into cocktail glass, add splash of soda, twist grapefruit zest over the rim of the glass – expressing the oils into the drink.
(As always, if you make the drink please let us know if you have any trouble with it, and/or if it fills you with joy!)
Thank you so much for everything, everyone. We'll be back later in the week with more thrilling updates!