Raise Your Spirits
Medicinal Use of Alcohol through History

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Have a touch of malaria? Why not try gin and tonic or maybe absinthe? Sore throat? No problem—try some rye whiskey and horehound on ice! Bloated after a big meal? Kummel or blackberry brandy should do the trick! Lacking enough energy to fight in the Coliseum? Beer with mashed grain will do nicely!

Long before we knew the true properties of alcohol and their long-term effects, humanity was creating aperitifs, digestifs and meal supplements with alcohol. Some of today’s favorite cocktails have a storied history in combating real and imagined maladies. British soldiers who needed to take quinine in order to combat malaria took to cutting the strong tonic with gin. French soldiers took absinthe to fight off malaria. The horehound herb is indeed known to relieve a sore throat, but you don’t need to combine it with whiskey. While ginger-based liqueurs were all the rage to soothe a queasy tummy, studies have shown it’s the ginger, and not the liquor, that helps alleviate nausea. And, of course, who could forget the Corpse Reviver? Just what the doctor ordered after a night of too much liquid fun. With its fresh orange and lemon juice, along with the botanicals of gin and the medicinal feel of absinthe, it is no wonder it got rave reviews for its “curative” properties. Alas, an ice-cold glass of juice with some white soda, lemon and lime works just as well to rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes

While liquor is no longer prescribed as a curative potion, we should tip our martini glasses to the pioneers who dared to be our founding mixologists and, in the end, came up with some real cures too—minus the booze!

Alcohol should never be used medicinally. If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol use, we urge you to seek help


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rwmagazine.com Founder of Tessa’s Office Wine and Spirits and level 2 Sommelier, Tessa says great wines are affordable if you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

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