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Urs Truly is slowly plodding through Pepys Diary.* One of its charms is the old English spelling (ex: “My heade akes”). Another perk is the sudden reading of a word I do not recognize. Spo-fans know nothing floats my goat as much as fascinating words.  In February 1661 Sammy P. is ‘heartily glad to be eating again after a period of sickness in which I had nothing but posset-drink. ”  My eyes widened. I have never heard of a posset-drink. I had to look it up.

According to Wikipedia: 

A posset (also spelled poshote, poshotte) was a hot British drink made of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was popular and used as a cold and flu remedy.

This doesn’t sound very good to me but I find it comforting to know people even then tried to do something/anything to help their colds. It made me think what are my own ‘posset-drinks’ , the tonics I drink to better my health -at least make me feel I am doing something for the flu-like feelings.  

Tea of course is my primo posset-drink, my panacea for all ills.  I like it hot, strong, and tannic – like my men. Sometimes I use some lemon in the iced tea. Milk is used on occasion in the hot stuff, but never to the point of curdling. 

For more severe colds and flu I drink Gatorade, on the logic (or hopeful thinking) its glucose and mineral do me good when I can’t drink and/or I am heaving ho.  I call it “The poor man’s IV”. Thanks to this long time association I can’t drink Gatorade without thinking I am coming down with something. 

When tea or tonics won’t work, or for more serious ailments, whisky is an excellent posset-drink.  It is also a prevention of toothache. Mark Twain claims he never had the toothache thanks to his night posset-drink of Old Crow. So there it is. 

For thems interested in trying a proper-no-rubbish posset-drink here is a recipe I found from a random Google search.  Buyer beware.

1⁄2 cup milk

1⁄2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated

1⁄4 cup sugar

1/⁄8 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg white

1⁄4 cup dark rum

1⁄4 cup brandy

Heat in a saucepan the milk, lemon peel, sugar, and almond extract. When it begins to scald, remove from heat. Beat egg white and add to the milk brew. Now add rum and brandy.  Serve hot.

I read once in JAMA a double-blind study whisky is the more efficacious.  


*I’m at March 1661 with ~ eight years to go.

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July 2018

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018