Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alcohol vs. the Cold Germs

When I was growing up, if someone in the family had a cough that wouldn't respond to cough syrup, my father would pour a little hot apricot brandy down the sufferer's throat.  I'm not sure what the basis of this nostrum was - relax the throat to ease the cough?  Put the cold sufferer to sleep with a healthy slug of hot alcohol?  Weaken the cold germs by getting them drunk?  What ever the theory was, my husband Tom's family must have subscribed to it, too - their father dosed them with hot blackberry brandy.

I now know that inebriated germs are not the shortest route through a nasty cold, but a hot drink still does make a sore throat feel better.  I made myself some of this tonight on the strength of that.

Winter Wassail

For each serving:

1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tblsp. Spice Hunter Muilling Spices

Heat until simmering (about 15 minutes); the liquid will reduce significantly.  Strain into a cup and serve.

If you don't have access to pre-mixed mulling spices, use a cinnamon stick, several whole cloves, a little orange peel, and possibly some star anise for a similar effect.

“Then here's to the heartening wassail, Wherever good fellows are found; Be its master instead of its vassal, and order the glasses around.” ~Ogden Nash

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