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Dave and Anke
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hot Toddy, Hot Schnotty: A Cure for What Ails Ya

Vinegar over Honey
plus spices,
before topping off with hot Water

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement...
-- From the Hippocratic Oath

Hot Toddy, Hot Schnotty: A Cure for What Ails Ya

By sheer coincidence, these two recipes came to us within a week of the other. The former is recreational, while the latter is medicinal. And without further ado...

Hot Toddy (from S/V VALIANT)
Whiskey (start with a finger or two?)
Apple Cider Vinegar (a splash, to begin with)
Squeeze some lime or lemon (or leave a twist)
Water (to top off)
Honey (to taste)
Salt around the rim (if that's how you roll)

All ingredients adjusted to taste/tolerance.

This one does for the recreational end of the spectrum. The whiskey is 'rotgut' (aka cheap)... no point mixing 80 year old Scotch with vinegar. The citrus can sometimes be found in your local, neighborhood dumpster, but we buy concentrate by the quart.

Hot Schnotty aka Fire Cider (amalgamated from the internet)
1 part Honey
1 part Apple Cider Vinegar
1 part Water (hot)
Heavy squirt of Hot Sauce
Pinch of CinnamonPinch of
Pinch of
(if ya have it)
Twist of Lemon (if ya have it)

This one's medicinal. Blasts snotty nose, sore throat and eases a cough. Useful stuff when sailing into the social proximities of civilization. Serve warm or hot for best effect, taking a sip every so often. I don't recommend drinking it down! Listen to your stomach. I find it works best when gargled for a bit. It settles, so stir or shake it before use.

Interesting overlap between the two recipes. Their taste definitely has a family resemblance.
Both harken to our (great?)grandparents' use of vinegar and honey as home remedies.

Vinegar is acidic (generally 7% acetic acid), so should be taken in moderation. It has been used to treat or ease many external conditions, and is anti-fungicidal. Taken internally, it has been considered a blood tonic (my G'parents said it 'thinned' the blood) and, especially in the throat, an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. But be aware that acid has internal effects on the teeth and stomach. A cup or so is a very potent emetic (makes us puke).

Honey is high in sugars with all their pros and cons. Local honies, especially, help prepare the body for pollens, reducing allergic reactions. In the throat, it can (like any sugar concentrate) discourage bacterial growth via osmotic action. On the other hand, once it's diluted (by saliva), it's food for growth. I personally let it sit thick for a bit, and then clear it out.

Cinnamon, Ginger, Tumeric and Peppers are all traditionally medicinal along with many others you can experiment with, and considered to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Cayenne has even been mixed in with cheap bottom paint to up its anti-fouling properties!

Whatever the case, it sure seems to help!


Bonus Yarn:

My Mom used to make us honey lemon teas for a cough suppressant.

One night, I had it bad, but didn't want to wake anyone up. I was six, after all... nearly a man.

I filled a pot with honey and brought it to a boil, then added a squirt of lemon. I carefully decanted the mix into a mug.

Then burned the bejeezus out of my lips, waking all in the house with my wails. I suppose it could have gone so much worse.

An early lesson in the importance of proportion and expert advice!


  1. Equal parts honey, lemon juice, and fresh-ground ginger. Add hot water, hot tea, or cold soda to taste.

    1. Hi J4,

      I love these mix and match recipes! One can direct a whole, modest pharmacopea from variants on a few, simple galley ingredients.

      In general, citrus juices can be substituted for vinegar, but they pack a lot less punch (like right in the pucker!). Pineapple juice is said to dissolve kidney stones. Cranberry for UITs.

      And yes, fresh ground anything is great when you can get it.

      Dave Z

  2. My grandma was making taffy or some such. I was 8 or so. The boiled sugar was sitting in an open dish,cooling. I touched it to "check" if it was cool. It wasn't. The pad of my middle finger was one big blister for days. I carried a little cup around with my finger in it, renewing the cold water every little while.

  3. hi, a favourite for us nicknamed "le sang de pirate" is 2/3 Roselle wine(a home brew) and 1/3 rum(rotgut ok)+ lime juice and ice if available.

    Hibiscus Sabdariffa, commonly referred to as Roselle, Red Sorrel, or Jamaican Sorrell. Hibiscus is typically grown to add flavor to food due to its sharp taste, but it packs several advantages like improving vision, regulating blood pressure, boosting heart health, etc. Sorrel packs high amounts of dietary fiber and is loaded with vitamin C, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B6, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium. It is seen as an excellent anti-microbe and antioxidant, making it the primary component of the popular Essiac tea. In terms of advantageous organic ingredients, it consists of flavonoids, polyphenolic acids, and anthocyanins. All these elements present in the Sorrel plant make it surprisingly beneficial for an individual’s health.

    1. Hi Robin and Karen,

      I've been a fan of Essiac since it (apparently) eased and prolonged my Mother's life. I love that one of its ingredients stars in a wine, not to mention a PIRATE wine!

      Another tonic wine is to soak Devil's Club root (relative of ginseng) in a red wine for up to a year. It's refreshing in taste, with a light feel (as opposed to the 'heavy' feeling red wines can impart).

      Bon bibulation!

      Dave Z

  4. guess I should have added ......from robin+karen almost aboard "kilda" as the ice retreats