September 7: Walter White’s Birthday

WalterWhiteToday’s post will contain slight spoilers for all five seasons of Breaking Bad, so tread lightly.

Mr. White, he’s the devil. He is smarter than you. He is luckier than you. Whatever you think is supposed to happen, the exact reverse opposite of that is gonna happen. -Jesse Pinkman

Were he a real person, Breaking Bad protagonist Walter White would (if he manages to get out of the series alive, which is highly unlikely) turn 54 today. We know this date thanks to divorce papers seen in the season 3 episode “Más,” on which Walt and his wife Skyler’s birthdates are clearly printed. So, for those of you keeping track of these things, that means that the series began on September 7, 2009 (Walt’s 50th birthday) and based on what we’ve seen in two brief flashforwards, the events of Breaking Bad will likely have come to an end on September 7, 2011 (Walt’s 52 birthday). Suffice to say, it was a pretty busy two years for Walter White and everyone who’s been unlucky enough to come in contact with him.

At it’s heart, Breaking Bad is Shakespearean drama; the tale of a bad thing that happens to a good man which leads him to commit many evil deeds. The day after his 50th birthday, high school chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with lung cancer, and after a run in with Jesse Pinkman, an old student turned meth cook, he decides to use his expert chemistry skills to make crystal meth, so that he can leave some money for his family if the cancer kills him. Walt produces a meth that is 99.1% pure and after a while, the product becomes extremely popular amongst New Mexico’s meth heads.

Yet even after he’s achieved his initial goal, Walter White’s arrogance and Macbethesque thirst for power drive him to go deeper and deeper into the darkness, eventually declaring to Jesse, “You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” So, God protect anyone that Walt should perceive as a threat to his grasp on power. As the series currently stands, Walt’s downfall has begun. His constant manipulation of Jesse has come back to hurt him, and his Lear-like hubris and a few stupid, pride-driven decisions inadvertently tipped off his DEA agent brother-in-law that Walter White is in fact the much mythologized drug kingpin known as Heisenberg. So, with four episodes left, the noose is tightening around Walter’s neck. Even now, with Walt out of the game and his cancer back with a vengeance, he seeks to go out on his terms and nobody else’s.

The most fascinating thing about Walter’s transformation over the series from “Mr. Chips to Scarface” is how we as viewers have reacted to him. At first the audience cheered him on, cause he seemed to be a decent guy trying to provide for his family. Then as time went on and more of his moral failings became apparent, more and more viewers became repulsed but still fascinated by the devilish Walter White. Now, almost everyone, except for a few sociopathic corners of the internet, is rooting against Walt, hoping that he receive some comeuppance for all the evil he’s done and the more than two dozen corpses he’s responsible for. But, all the while, no matter how much we might hate Walter White, we’re still fascinated and sometimes impressed by how he manages to outwit his adversaries, always finding a way to slither out of danger.

Now the only appropriate drink for Walter White’s birthday is perhaps something just as dangerous as he is. Maybe something with either of those two dreaded ingredients, absinthe and egg whites? Well, last month Thrillist asked David Shenaut and Alan Akwai of Raven & Rose in Portland, Oregon to mix a few Breaking Bad cocktails. Blue Sky, named of course after Walt’s premium meth, manages to find a use for both absinthe and egg whites and mixes them with other quality ingredients to create a fantastic sweet and potent cocktail.

Blue Sky

  • 1 1/2 ounce Pisco brandy
  • 1/4 ounce Absinthe
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce Orgeat syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 ounce Blue Curaçao
  • Soda

Shake everything except the soda thoroughly with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until the egg is sufficiently foamy and pour into a tall glass. Top with crushed ice and fill with soda water until the foam reaches the top of the glass. Garnish (if you wish) with blue rock candy.

Tomorrow:  Michelangelo’s tribute to the city of Florence.

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