“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” Do you understand these rights? Probably not. Most of us haven’t made a close study of them. Although the rights protected are enshrined in the Constitution, they were not formalized into the “Miranda Warning” that must be issued when you are taken into custody or interrogated until 1966. Turns out things work better when people are made aware of their rights. Seems like a better focus on civics curriculum and making sure that people actually understand our founding documents and the rights protected by them would be a great place to start. I bet that if more people bothered to read the instructions for our republic, we’d have less call to have to inform them of their rights, but I could be wrong. I often am. So, in the spirit of better understanding the national EULA, won’t you please join me now, as we stand and make the 5th Amendment.

This one was created by Dave Newman, owner of Honolulu’s Pint + Jigger. It was on our list of places to visit and drinks to try last summer, before the pandemic grounded us all. Hopefully, when it is safe and smart to travel again we will finally make it to Hawaii to start checking bars and drinks off that particular bucket list. On one level this drink felt very much like a bartender’s handshake, beyond the ingredients it just has that vibe, but it also has a definite tropical feel to it from the falernum, so maybe it’s more like a bartender’s high five.

Grab a mixing pitcher and pop in 1 3/4 ounces of bourbon, I one with Four Roses, 1/4 ounce of Yellow Chartreuse, 1/4 ounce of Fernet-Branca, and 1/2 an ounce of velvet falernum. The original recipe calls for very specific Hawaiian Lilikoi bitters that do not appear to be available currently, so I cheated and went with 2 drops of Bittermen’s Elemakule Bitters and one drop of homemade passionfruit tincture to approximate the flavor. Add some of those lovingly crafted artisanal ice cubes and stir to the sounds of Van Halen’s version of the Little Feat classic “Apolitical Blues“. When well mixed and chilled strain over a king cube into a rocks glass, express a lemon peel over it and toss it in as nod to garnish.

That’s lovely. Booze forward, obviously, but delightfully smooth. It has a lot going on, a nice herbal thing in the aroma and taste, a sweet bottom note that sort of passes through the whiskey into a “not too” bitter finish from the Fernet. It really works. I think I am going to make this one again and really lean into it’s Hawaiian roots, by serving it over shaved ice, maybe with a falernum drizzle. Seriously, this is a good pour.

I have no idea why this drink is a called the 5th Amendment. I did some snooping around and couldn’t find anything relevant. The original recipe has 5 ingredients four of which come in 750 ml bottles, also known as “fifth’s”. Perhaps it is a nod to the constitutional qualities of the drink with its herbal backbone or the Constitutional protections you might need after too many of these. Those particular rights are often misunderstood. Most folks think that “taking the 5th” means you don’t have to answer any questions. That is not quite true, the 5th amendment only protects you from offering evidence that could incriminate you. So, you can’t take the 5th to protect your buddy, unless that also protects you from prosecution for wrongdoing. Of course, refusing to testify without this protection opens you to contempt of court, and other slippery slopes, so make sure your buddy is worth the time. Beyond that, there are several other protections under the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, here is the text:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Fifth Amendment to the UNited States Constitution

See it’s way more than protection from self-incrimination. Double jeopardy and imminent domain are in there, plus you’ve got some grand jury and a bit of due process, more on that in the 14th Amendment. It even holds the basis for the Miranda Right “to remain silent” some of you may have heard in person and all of you have seen on the screen. Kind of like the drink, there is actually quite a lot going on in the 5th Amendment and most of it is partially understood, at best, by most folks. At its core, it is pretty simple though. Like the rest of the Constitution, you just have to read the words, they are fairly clear in what they say. Don’t let it get twisted on you and don’t let folks tell you what they mean or what they “really say”. Read the words, don’t even use the ones I quoted above, go to your copy of the Constitution and read them there, just to make sure I didn’t sneak something in on you.

It’s funny, when I say “take the 5th” most everyone knows what I mean. You know that I am saying to invoke your right to remain silent, understanding that you might incriminate yourself otherwise. A lot of folks assume that means you are guilty, makes sense, if you aren’t guilty then what do you have to hide? Probably nothing much, but it still makes sense to keep your mouth shut till you talk to counsel, just in case. You don’t want your words to be misconstrued. If you tell someone to go up there and “fight like hell” you wouldn’t want them to grow horns a tail and pitchforks before storming the Capitol. That would be silly. Context, as they say, is everything.

There is still room for interpretation though, if I say “take the 5th”, very few of you think I am telling you to grab a 750 ml bottle of booze, although, that is totally valid. Maybe we should make that a thing. Don’t want to deal with something or take responsibility for your actions? Take the 5th. It works in context and only you and I will know I’m saying just get drunk and leave your troubles till tomorrow morning. To be fair, they will still be there, but at least you’ll be hungover and distracted by the pounding head and all those bright lights. Maybe your troubles won’t seem so bad under those conditions. Maybe they will, you might even have to retain legal counsel. You’ll have to decide that for yourself and when someone asks you about “the incident”, you can take the 5th. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.