Prophylaxis Of Evil

With the wet, semi-cold weather comes the familiar scratchy-throated, fatigued feeling of impending sickness. We all have our various folk remedies. Mine centers around immediate and prolonged sleep, and has been known to include (in extreme cases) swabbing the throat with cut garlic cloves and cotton swabs dipped in tabasco sauce. Recently, though, when a couple of fingers of good whiskey neat don’t seem quite enough, I’ve been playing around with the storied combination of booze, honey, citrus, and hot water.

I have this old bottle of Slivovitz in the cupboard that belonged to my Grandfather. He died 15 years ago, so it should be clear that I don’t drink a lot of Slivovitz. I use it in desserts sometimes, like glazes for tarts or whipped cream. He used to put it in tea with lemon as a cold remedy. The brandy is Serbian, but he was from a shtetl in Poland. (The glass was his, too, which is why it’s so scratchy). And since I have a bottle of umeshu in the fridge, it seemed worth messing with the idea. And then there was the bottle of yuzu juice.

So: very simply, a mixture of the two boozes–one sweet, one not–with a pour of yuzu, hot water, and a big spoon of honey to stir it all together. Plummy, sweet, with that bright resinous yuzu tang–it hit the spot. I added some lemon peel for laughs, and next time I think I’ll put a smashed hunk of ginger in the water while it heats for extra medicine and flavor. I’m not sure what to call it, though.

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  1. 11/19/2010

    in its own way, this post is brilliant and original. so so so YOU.

  2. 11/19/2010

    You should try my version some time: Bärenjäger, bourbon and lemon in a cup of tea.

  3. Peter

    I thought it was Champale and cough syrup.

  4. 11/19/2010

    My Dad always espoused the idea of a daily alcoholic drink to protect oneself from the forces of evil. He usually meant a martini, but this would fill the bill, too.

  5. 11/19/2010

    You can’t just do plain old honey and lemon, can you?

  6. Peter

    Zoomie: My Grandfather liked a drink at the end of the day, but adding brandy to tea was more of a cold thing.

    CC: Just think how the microbes like it.

    Julia: No. No, I can’t.

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