Sunday, 18 February 2018

tosspot, hydropot

Third in colourful metaphors in the English language and bested only by the topics of sex and money, the term alcohol itself (from the Arabic alchemy word for the coal, any powder won through evaporation and distillation) is a relative new borrowing, compared to the numerous epithets of drinking culture that reach back thousands of years.
Whilst for ages more potent drinks enjoyed a better safety record than plain water—given the fact that there no treatment facilities and the benefits of boiling water were perhaps unknown to most hydropots, as the brave souls were called, tosspots—for those with no reluctance to throw back a beer (or several) might have to deal with a different sort of post-revelry regret in the form of a hangover. Precautions, remedies and cure-alls have equally old provenance, with the gem stone amethyst (from the Greek for sober) believed to be a magical charm to stave off intoxication. A few other borrowings of the language and not mineral variety include lampooning—from the French Lampons! for let us drink (compare to the Michelin mascot Bibendum from Horace’s Odes Nunc est bibendum, or rather It’s Booze Time!) which a night spend carousing—from the German invocation gar aus trinken to empty the glass—might facilitate, either in person or increasingly online. In any case, remember to drink responsibility and be sure to check out the link up top to learn more.