By Kathleen Hale ~ WRHS Unit Chair
There a tender member of the aster family that is showing up on social media and in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Spilanthes acmella goes by the common name Buzz Blossom, which is a big clue as to why it’s found appealing. While the leaves, both cooked and raw, have been used in northern Brazilian cuisine, it’s the blossoms that are now being used in fashionable and pricey cocktails.
Why? Take a sip and your mouth goes numb. This appeals to some people. Spilanthes acmella goes by other evocative names: Electric Daisy, Toothache Plant, Tingflower and Buzz Buttons. The blossoms are attractive red and golden globes. Their numbing nature has proven useful in numbing mouth pain.
An extract made from all parts of the plant is sold as “jambu juice”. It makes you drool, which I suppose could also mean you can call it “mouth watering”. If we choose to be nerdy, and I always do, we might designate jamba juice as a “sialogogue”, meaning that it stimulates the production of saliva.
But let’s get really nerdy. As in, let’s stand in line for an hour or two in order to shell out $15.00 to the Disney Empire, Overlord to the Star Wars Cinematic Universe.
Ladies and Gentlemen: allow me to introduce “The Fuzzy Tauntaun”. It is a signature alcoholic libation served at Oga’s Cantina. Oga’s is a “notorious watering hole” that has recently opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Note that, because there are no actual conventional liquor bottles in Oga’s, so you have to order a signature alcohol libation if you want any adult beverage.
Now, I'm sure that I don’t need to remind you that a Tauntaun is actually a space lizard that resembles a bipedal llama, and lives on the ice planet of Hoth.
After the unexpected Rebel victory at Yavin, the heroic Luke Skywalker and his companions sought refuge in a secret base on Hoth, and found a way to harness and ride Tauntauns around its snowy waste. They were not docile mounts, and we are advised by Han Solo that they smell bad both on the inside and the outside.
Presumably, after the Rebellion abandoned Hoth, their whereabouts having been discovered by the Empire, the Tauntauns went back to gamboling in the snow drifts.
But here we have their alcoholic avatar. The Fuzzy Tauntaun is made of Cîroc Peach Vodka, Bols Peach Schnapps and Simply Orange®, topped with tangerine, pure cane sugar and…BUZZ FOAM. The taste of the beverage itself is mostly peach. But the foam does apparently deliver a tingle followed by a numbness. In the picture above, it's the vibrant yellow cocktail!
There is a smoothie chain called “Jamba”, which seems to show up in college towns. They carry preparations of ginger, wheatgrass, cayenne, turmeric and all those good things. But not jambu juice.
You can purchase extract of Spilanthes acmella from various online sites, where it is marketed for all kinds of things, including repelling mosquitoes, acting as a human aphrodisiac and a snake bite remedy.
How Disney concocts the buzzy foam for big money cocktails is a secret and I know better than to mess around in the realm of Disney secrets.
Or those of the Empire.