Belladonna as a porn star. Belladonna as a rock star. Belladonna as a deadly nightshade. Belladonna as a “cure” for alcoholism. Belladonna as a cocktail.
I first heard about Belladonna in a book I was reading entitled The Power of Habit. The book referred to it as a medicine used to treat patients of alcoholism in the early 1900s. I thought to myself, Oh, what a fantastic name for a cocktail, I’ll have to write that down. So I did.
And then, in the same week, I made a new cocktail- a gorgeous ruby red thing with a seductive bite. I thought naming it Belladonna would be fitting, but knowing I can’t believe everything I read in books, I decided to find some reliable information about this Belladonna- so I turned to the internet. And this is what I found…
This is Joey Belladonna, the lead vocalist for Anthrax. That’s all we need to know about him. He’s damn ugly and I’m pretty sure you clicked on this link specifically to learn about the porn star. So we’ll move on, perv.
Atropa Belladonna is a toxic nightshade. Deadly. Ancient romans used it to make poison tipped arrows. It has been the poison of choice for assassins throughout the centuries. The berries have a sweet taste and are so toxic a couple could kill a child, a few more, an adult. Another name for it I found is Naughty Man’s Cherries, quite possibly another cocktail name- garnished with- well, you know.
It is also a valuable lesson to live by, Don’t touch the Naughty Man’s Cherries!
Belladonna, derived from the italian language, literally means Beautiful Woman. It was named after the practice of italian women dropping the plant’s oil into their eyes to dilate their pupils as an added measure of seduction. Apparently, having the eyes of a Disney cartoon character really lured in the men back then.
Speaking of dilated pupils, Atropa Belladonna was used as a pharmaceutical drug of sorts in the early 1900s- to treat alcoholism no less!
So this guy, Charles B. Towns, was not even a doctor- He was a former life insurance salesman that ran into some guy, a country doctor maybe, who talked him into using this concoction that he said cured drug and alcohol dependent people. Towns built quite a reputation for curing criminals and gangsters with this mixture and then teamed up with Dr. Alexander Lambert to open a hospital. Towns needed a doctor with credentials- and the doctor he partnered with was no random quack off the street, he was a well respected chap- the personal physician of Theodore Roosevelt!
Atropa Belladonna alone was known to cause hallucinations and confusion. Added to the concoction was henbane, insane root, and prickly ash. This medicine was administered to the patient every hour, for fifty consecutive hours. Imagine your worst acid trip. Multiply the depth of your hallucinations by a hundred. Then imagine it lasting fifty hours with a man in a white coat greeting you each and every one of those hours. But wait, there’s more, at the end of your fifty hours you get a hefty serving of castor oil intended to make you shit your brains out.
People paid good money for this- $350 each visit- that’s about $5600 in today’s economy- so it wasn’t for the average drunk on the street. Especially since it usually involved multiple visits, because it didn’t actually work most of the time.
One success story of this treatment was a patient by the name of Bill Wilson. He was a four time graduate of the Towns-Lambert cure. He had a spiritual awakening during his fourth visit and went on to co-found Alcoholics Anonymous.
Belladonna was born Michelle Sinclair in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1981. She grew up in a Mormon family that moved around a lot and eventually landed in Utah. At the age of 18, she left with a friend to start her pornography career in Los Angeles. She went on to do great(?) things in the industry and star in almost 350 films. A director of one of her films described her as “a woman with the most incredible sexual abilities I’ve ever seen.” Here are some of the more colorful titles she has starred in…
Anal Angels 2: In High Heels, Assault on the Rectum 17, Balls Deep 5, Ball Sucking Skanks 2, My Ass is Haunted, Belladonna’s Cock Pigs, Evil Pink 1-4, Spontaneass, Best of Tit Smother, Blow Job Adventures of Dr. Fellatio 35, Bottom Feeders 5, Breath of a Salesman, Buttface, Carnival Sluts and Circus Dicks, Dick Sauce (Animal Style), Easy Cheeks, Fast Times at Deep Crack High 3, Greedy White Girls 2, Notorious S.L.U.T, Sticky Side Up 7, Trailer Trash Nurses 5, Two in the Seat 3, Weapons of Ass Destruction
Confession: I have seen one of her films. And I want to see it again. I saw Inherent Vice at The Roxy Theatre here in Missoula. Inherent Vice, however, is not a XXX film- as great of a title that would be for one. It’s a Paul Thomas Anderson film featuring a real top notch cast with the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, and Benicio Del Toro. It’s a real hoot and a holler. You should probably see it. Our little darling up there doesn’t have a huge roll, but it was her break into a real Hollywood film.
Belladonna: The Cocktail
Finally. I know. I didn’t expect such a long post either, but here she is… simple, elegant, sexy, seductive, intoxicating. This cocktail is not for the Lemondrop Martini drinker, nor the Appletini-er. This is a drinker’s drink. It’s for Manhattan lovers and for the Negroni connoisseurs.
It is Tanqueray. It is Fernet Branca. It is Campari. Equal parts, stirred, strained, up with an orange oil spritz.
These three players have their own distinct personalities and biting flavors: Bright juniper, sharp herbaceousness, and a bewitching bitterness. But pour them in a glass together, and they become the best friends they’ve ever had.