Drunkard, Heal Thyself

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Given that my first two posts involve alcohol, I just might be establishing myself as the Bay Area Bites Lush. No matter, I think my parents already believe that.

Anyway, as many of you are probably already aware along with all its other good qualities, alcohol has medicinal benefits. My two favorite prescriptions are the classic Hot Toddy and the sophisticated Gin and Tonic.

Whenever I feel a twitchy sniffle coming on, I make bleary eyes at my husband who bustles out to the kitchen to whip up one of his restorative Hot Toddies. I don't know if it's the vitamin C punch the lemon juice packs, or the antiseptic qualities of the Wild Turkey bourbon, or the moisturizing effect of the honey on a sore throat, but whatever it is, after one or two of those, I wake up the next morning with nary a trace of my previous ills. I'm not exactly sure why we get Wild Turkey bourbon but it seems to be my husband's preference. Feel free to make your own choice.

Dr. Mathra's Totally Hot Toddy Recipe:

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 jigger (1 1/2 oz) bourbon of choice

Boiling water

1 tablespoon honey, preferably local


Crush the cinnamon stick and cloves slightly. A mortar and pestle works well for this as does the bottom of a heavy pan. Put the spices in a heatproof glass or mug and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the bourbon and pour in the boiling water to fill the glass. Stir in the honey and serve very hot.

This might be a slightly less well-known cure, but for the women out there who suffer from the periodic effects of, well, cramps, I can recommend a quick Gin and Tonic. For years certain holistic circles have used juniper berry and juniper extract as a muscle relaxant, and what better way to ingest juniper than in a nice cool glass of gin and tonic? Manages to make me less irritable as well -- funny how that works.

Stephanie's Cramps-Be-Gone Gin and Tonic Recipe:

Ice cubes

Juice from 1/4 of a lemon

1 jigger (1 1/2 oz) gin of choice

Tonic water

You know, I usually just eyeball this -- pour in one or two fingers of gin (Bombay Sapphire is preferred, but Tanqueray is also nicely smooth), add a squirt of lemon and the tonic, but the other night, I realized that there's actually a very specific ritual to my Gin and Tonics.

I start by dropping in no more than two cubes of ice (any more could dilute the drink and we don't want that, do we?), and then I squeeze the lemon, drizzling the juice over the ice cubes. Next, I drop the spent lemon in the glass and slosh in the measured gin. Fill up the remaining space with tonic water* and serve.

It's not snake oil if it works, right?

*I have decided opinions about many things, especially when it comes to putting stuff in mouth and I definitely have a decided opinion of tonic water. I find Canada Dry far too sweet for a good, bracing Gin and Tonic. Good ol' Schwepps is really the way to go, especially since the Brits are the inventors of the Gin and Tonic as a way to pickle themselves with quinine to fight off malaria in India. But that's another post entirely. Whatever you do, stay away from diet tonic! Shudder.