How To Not Die Of Winter (Part 1 of however many).

Winter is inching closer and in anticipation of the cold I have a cold.

Not to worry, as I also have combination of ideas which will if not make me feel better then at least distract me from being an entity constructed entirely out of sore throat, earache, rogue mucus, and barking coughs:

The first part is from an idea I saw circulating on that pernicious time sink, Tumblr.com, and it is ideas like this and photographs of pretty crystals which have prevented me from flouncing away from that appalling lavatory of the internet in favour of slightly less time-wasting wastes of time.

ingredients part one

These are the principal ingredients of that first, cribbed part:

  • Fresh, peeled chunks of ginger
  • A sliced lemon
  • However many types of honey you like (I actually also used a tin of honey someone sent me from Norway as well, which was conveniently much runnier).

    like so
    like so

Put lemon slices and ginger bits in a jar. Fill up the remaining space with honey. Give it a shake.

The honey should engulf the lemon and ginger. The reason for this is that honey is a preservative; “sweet burial” used to refer to preserving a corpse in honey, and honey – edible honey – a few thousand years old has been found in pots in various places. It does not go off. If your honey has gone lumpy and has a weird slightly gritty texture, it has just crystalised or separated due to cold and will return to its previous character if you bung it in the microwave or heat it up in some other way. Naturally this is an excellent way to preserve the other ingredients, but it isn’t the only purpose of the honey: it’s also a natural topical antibiotic (as you will know if you read that link up there). This is pretty useful for horrible sore throats, and it has the bonus of tasting a lot nicer than most throat medicine. Lemon contains a mild quantity of vitamin C, which you almost certainly don’t get enough of, and ginger’s just generally good for you.

If you’re at work or don’t like booze you just stick with this part: plonk a tablespoon full in a mug of boiling water (make sure there’s some lemon and ginger bits in there too) and you have a lovely hot drink. Everyone knows this.

However, I don’t really believe in drinking things that don’t have alcohol in them if I can possibly avoid it, in part because we all know water is evil and teeming with microbes and only the sainted touch of spirits can cure that, and in part because being slightly fuzzy all the time is the only way to cope with the terrible echoing knowledge that we are alone in the universe and everyone apart from you (yes, you, just you) is an idiot and probably dangerous.

Part two is for drinking when you are not at work:

pictured empty with good reason
pictured empty with good reason

The alcohol mix goes in with the tea. My measurements are inexact, but it’s roughly equal parts Fireball (cinnamon whisky), ginger wine (do not use the non-alcoholic sort, that undermines the purpose), and Aberlour whisky (or other scotch) at about half the amount of the other two because it is more expensive and less sweet. I put between 25 and 50ml in with the tea and achieve blessed respite from the dreaded darkness of the dead days of the year.

I suggest keeping it pre-mixed in a bottle for days when you can’t be bothered to do anything much more complex than cry about the fact that it is -4C and there is freezing fog outside:

booze mix, in a water bottle of water that i bought from tesco specifically because i liked the bottle.
booze mix, in a water bottle of water that i bought from tesco specifically because i liked the bottle.

Future posts about the hideous death of summer and light may include advice on how to stuff yourself with carbs, where to buy full-spectrum lightbulbs, and why it is legal to kill anyone who says they’re looking forwards to the nights drawing in.

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