Olivia Dish

The Bourbon (Street) Cure

In Beverages, Homemade, New Orleans, Restaurant on November 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm
A Gold Rush

DIY Gold Rush: aka "the cure"

I blame my present cold on Bourbon Street. Now bourbon, it seems, will cure me–thanks to a little recipe I happened across in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

The drink that has set my sinuses free: the Gold Rush.

It does all seem just a bit too neat, doesn’t it? (Well, except for the pile of tissues but let’s not dwell on that.) My work took me to New Orleans, where I was assigned to a perfectly fine hotel room with one awful attribute: it was on a third floor overlooking Bourbon Street. The music from the bar across the street was so loud that I had to take my phone into the hallway in order to hear.

Two nights of no sleep had given my tiny sniffle a toehold. So here I sat, back home at my computer, half-working with a head so stuffed it felt it might explode. I saw the wsj.com video of a bartender making a Gold Rush and decided, come evening, that might be just the thing for me.


I decided to go with the Woodford.

With no proper bartending tools, I did it this way: 1/4 cup bourbon, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

On my first attempt, I poured these over some ice cubes in a Mason jar, screwed the lid on and shook vigorously.  Not the best approach. The honey stiffened from the cold and stuck to the bottom of the jar. My Gold Rush was too tart.  So I regrouped and remixed.  My second attempt worked better: I mixed the three ingredients together, then poured over ice and stirred. It was grand.

lemon on cutting board

Note cutting board from the Maine prison workshop

And effective. There was a rush, alright, as all the congested stuff in my head broke free. In fact, I nearly drowned.

Is a blend of bourbon, lemon and honey really a decongestant? Or was it a coincidence?

Though it’s mentioned online as a home remedy, I couldn’t find anything definitive. As I was blowing my nose, I remembered something. When I got colds a few years ago, I used to see an elderly doctor at the local urgent care. He was retired and filled in there a couple of days a week.

honey bear

A little South Carolina honey

The retired doctor would always prescribe, along with that Z-pack, what he called old-fashioned medicine. His home cure: keep your feet warm, use some Vicks Vapor Rub….and yes…it was coming back to me now….drink a little bourbon with honey and lemon.  At the time,  I hadn’t followed doctor’s orders: I just drank the bourbon, without the honey and lemon.  But maybe, just maybe, the retired doc was right.

At any rate, I can tell you that the Gold Rush is a pretty darned delicious way to decongest. But take it easy….and be ready….if your reaction is anything like mine, you’ll need a big box of tissues….and a little later, perhaps, a bit of antihistamine to stem the tide.

Bourbon Street

My view: rare moment of peace on Bourbon Street

As for curing the Bourbon Street too-loud-hotel-room blues, one idea: dinner at Lilette. Located on Magazine Street, Lilette is peaceful and precious in the best way; it’s housed in a former drugstore, old black and white mosaic tiled floor still intact.  The bar looks like a great place for a fun dinner solo. Most important, the food is good. I had a grilled beet salad, wreck fish on a bed of shitake mushrooms, edamame and grilled onions, and a trio of homemade ice creams for dessert.

Good food is powerful stuff, but even it can’t sweep you away to sleepytown when the band is hammering out 80s hits, practically at the foot of your bed.  I’d forgotten that Billy Idol had recorded so many songs. If only I’d had a pitcher of Gold Rush (or just a bottle of bourbon) bedside then.


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