Epic Drinks for Epidemics
Updated: Apr 25
The bars are empty, but people still drink! If anything has become apparent during the last couple of weeks, it is that no one needs an excuse to take the edge off during a pandemic. Perhaps none of us remember a time when this sort of thing has happened before, but COVID is not the first bug to have people drinking from home. We at the Jawbone love a historical tale of getting tipsy and thought we'd present: Epic Drinks for Epidemics.
This classic devil has been popping up to terrorize cities for centuries. The epidemic that hit London in 1665 is likely what comes to mind when you imagine plague doctors in long-beaked masks. Treatments for the disease were numerous and never wanting for creativity. The most delicious looking has to be the floral and fabulously named Plague Water. One recipe begins with making a posset. A posset is a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other alcoholic liquor. Make this posset with Sage, Sorrel, and Dandelion. This drink sounds floral and earthy, but not that effective at fighting the plague. We at the Jawbone will probably stick to Hendricks Gin, and it's eleven fine botanicals.
PHILADELPHIA, 1793 YELLOW FEVER
Most of the time, when you come back from the Caribbean, the only thing you bring back with you is a good tan and a keychain souvenir. That is unless it happened to be August in the year 1793, and you were arriving by boat in Philadelphia. In that case, you might have brought yellow fever with you. Within a couple of months, thousands of people died. One primary symptom of the disease was muscle pain. Whether it be for the headache of dealing with a new country on the verge of economic collapse, or for the literal aches that accompanied the fever, we at the Jawbone recommend a classic Caribbean Painkiller for those affected. Pineapple rum float, please.
We all love a good pint of the bubbly, hoppy beverage we call beer. Yet, none could love it as much as those living near the City of Westminster, London, in 1854. At the time, the belief was that sickness spread by an element of bad air called "miasma," which rose from the soil and infected the healthy. They did not understand the spread of germs nor the life-changing qualities a Brita Filter could have on one's life. As the city drank and died from a water pump on Broad Street, one population was unscathed by the epidemic. That's right, the employees at the local brewery drank so much beer that they rarely exposed themselves to the contaminated water supply. We aren't shocked to find out that yes, beer does save lives. Raise a growler from your favorite brewhouse for this one!
NEW YORK, 1907
We've all called someone in the last couple weeks a "real typhoid Mary" for not wearing their facemask in public. Do you know the horrific story behind Mary and her peaches, though? Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant working as a cook in New York during the turn of the century. She was eager to prepare delicious dishes, and please the powerful houses for which she worked. Too bad, she was a natural carrier of Typhoid. She spread it to most of the people who indulged in her specialties. Peach ice cream with uncooked, raw peaches would make Mary famous for killing three people and infecting at least fifty others. The real kicker? All she had to do was wash her hands. She was eventually quarantined (we feel you girl, it sucks) and released on the condition that she no longer cook and that she practice proper hygiene. She refused, and after being caught spreading the disease again was locked up for the rest of her life. In honor of her favorite dessert, we've chosen a cocktail with enough Peach Schnapps to give you a stomach ache! Don't be like Mary. Be like us at the Jawbone, and before you make your drink, wash your damn hands!
Apple Pie Moonshine
MONTANA, 1918 INFLUENZA
Believe it or not, Montana was closing businesses and social distancing just about this time last century. The winter of 1918 brought with it a bought of flu so deadly that about one percent of Montana's population perished. In Butte, on the worst days, the undertaker's carriage would be parked on the street, ready to go. There were, of course, others ready to go. People ready to go anywhere and do anything but what health officials told them. In the day and age of Prohibition in our rowdy mountain state, there must have been speakeasies overflowing with secret patrons trying to escape the panic. One account of the end of the quarantine in Billings tells of a police officer finding five youths drunk in a sheep wagon. They gave up the name of the bootlegger who'd helped them score, and he was fined $200. So our drink for this era is a glass of your favorite moonshine. They say it's good for a cough, and now that Prohibition is over, it probably won't cost you a couple of hundred bucks.
EVERYWHERE, 2020 COVID-19
We don't have to speculate on this one. We know what we've been up to, the depths to which we've sunk. This drink can come in as many variations as you've had uncomfortable chats with your roommate recently. We're all making do with what we have. Feel free to substitute any of the following for things that you can find around the house. The base recipe is simple, though: Straight vodka and a packet of Emergen-C. Shake it over ice. Repeat until you've saturated your immune system with vitamins and your screaming home-schoolers are but a dull, distant dream. If you are trying to motivate yourself to care about zoom meetings or online workouts, good for you, and good luck. To the rest of us, bottoms up!