Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Put Brandy in It

"'Drink this.' I dashed some brandy into the water, and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks."
- Dr. Watson, from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes 

Those of you who know me well are thoroughly aware of how much I love the Sherlock Holmes stories. Although I'm fond of the modern Cumberbatch depiction, Jeremy Brett's Sherlock is the one that won my heart, and I've devoured all the Arthur Conan Doyle stories so many times over that I could probably recite them verbatim.

One thing that I noted as I pored through those stories was how Dr. Watson doled out brandy at every turn, as though it were a cure-all for any illness. Has someone fainted? Give them brandy. They're sobbing in abject misery? Brandy. Elderly person complaining of something or other? Brandy them up.

Personally, I think this is a rather wonderful way of tending to various ills, whether physical or emotional. Below is my own recipe for a hot toddy. Although I make these when I feel a sore throat or a head cold coming on, I've also been known to cup them in my hands and sip them slowly when grave news has come my way. 


  • 2 generous tablespoons of brandy 
  • 1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup 
  • 1/4 of a fresh lemon 
  • 1 cup freshly boiled hot water 
  • 1 bag of orange pekoe or other black tea 
  • 1 thin slice of ginger (if desired) 


Bring a kettle of water to a rolling boil. 
Pop the teabag into a small pot and cover with a cup of water. Allow the bag to steep until the tea is as strong as you like it best. 
Pour the honey or syrup into the bottom of your favourite mug, then add the brandy and lemon juice, and stir together to make a glorious slurry. If you're adding in a slice of ginger, pop that in now. 
Add the steeped tea to this mixture, stir it well, and enjoy it while it's hot. 

These drinks have a way of warming people to the core after an autumn or winter funeral, when everyone is back inside and in need of soothing. They're great served with ginger snaps or shortbread biscuits, especially the rosemary cookies mentioned in a previous post.

Blessings to you.

 Lead photo credit: shutterbean

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