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Apothecary Cocktails may cure what ails you

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If you thought holiday season was sneaking up on you, you’re wrong. It’s already here.

It’s time for lights and trees and presents and holiday decorations. It’s also time for holiday get-togethers and celebrations, big and small. That means it’s time for food and drink. We’ll indulge in seasonal treats, sometimes in such massive quantities that we’ll spend heaven only knows how much time looking for the plop-plop-fizz-fizz in our efforts to relieve our pain.

Wouldn’t it be nice to relieve that pain and continue enjoying the holiday festivities without clutching a bottle of pink stuff? Of course it would. Well, take heart. It may not be necessary to rummage through the medicine cabinet. Instead, grab a copy of Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today.

Warren Bobrow, creator of The Cocktail Whisperer blog, has done a magnificent job with his "Brief History of Herbal Healing," noting that herbs and alcohol have gone together to make medicines since, well, almost forever. Many of today’s bar staples were first created as cures for a variety of complaints. For instance, Angostura Bitters was originally created as a medicinal tonic to help with a variety of digestive upsets ranging from poor appetite to flatulence. (Try a teaspoon either before or after a meal, although fair warning – there’s a reason for the term ‘bitters’. It may go down better in a glass of sparkling water.)

But Bobrow wasn’t content with just a few simple tricks like Angostura and water. He’s dug deep into cocktail history searching for aperitifs and digestifs. Each chapter is devoted to a different category, from digestives and curatives to mood enhancers. Even better, it’s not just a collection of recipes. Each one is accompanied by a bit of history or commentary. It’s the sort of thing that makes The Cocktail Whisperer so much fun to read, handily curated in a little spiral-bound book and accompanied by delicious images that may tempt you to lick the page. (Hint: Don’t. Make the cocktail instead.)

With a little help from Apothecary Cocktails, getting through this holiday season could be a breeze.

Benedictine Twist Elixir
From Apothecary Cocktails, used with permission

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) Benedictine
  • 2 to 3 lemon zest twists
  • Ice cube
  • 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 ml) seltzer water

Add the Benedictine and the lemon zest twists to a snifter glass. Pop one large ice cube into the glass, and top with seltzer water. Serve a round as a last course at your next dinner party. Your guests are sure to head home with happy bellies.

If you enjoyed this article by Cocktails columnist Angie Rayfield, AKA TheBeerLady, please sign up for a subscription by clicking the SUBSCRIBE button above.
Do you have a cocktail trend or new product (or an old product, for that matter) that you'd like me to review? Curious about a cocktail or looking for tips about a technique? Please email me at TheBeerLady AT gmail.com. Or follow me on Twitter @thebeerlady.
FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Samples guarantee the author will try the product, but all opinions are the author's own.

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