A huge thank you to everyone who came to our SkepchickCON panels at CONvergence, as well as everyone who stopped by the Skepchick Sideshow party room. I’m excited to announce that the beautiful glass decanters containing the cures for Dyspepsia, Palpitations, and Jaundice—the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All!–are all up for auction this week to help us raise funds for an even better SkepchickCON next year! They were designed by our talented contributor Donna Mugavero and laser-etched by my friends at Reclamation Etchworks. Check out all of the auctions here!
You may recall that last year I did a little demo on fluorescent cocktails. I went in a little different direction this year: in accord with the sideshow theme, I pretended to peddle a miraculous panacea, a cure-all to treat all of your ills: the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All! I talked about the history of bitters as a way to lead into a quick lesson about being skeptical of other too-good-to-be-true health claims. It was a little challenging at first to strike that balance between fun+educational and being too preachy, but with some helpful critiques from friends and a kickass musical intro from Amanda Marcotte, I found my stride and I think everyone had a good time. Nothing better than a room full of geeks shouting, “BULLSHIT!”
Below is the recipe for the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All as well as the presentation I gave. Videos are coming later this week. Enjoy!
You there! Do you have dyspepsia from drinking one too many Pan Galactic Gargleblasters? I’ve got a cure for that right here!
And you—do you experience heart palpitations whenever you see a Malcolm Reynolds or 10th Doctor cosplayer passes by? Today’s your lucky day. A sip of this will restore you and you wander the halls of the con safely once again?
Speaking of cosplay, is that a Pikachu costume, or is jaundice responsible for your unhealthy yellow glow? I’ve got a remedy for that, too.
Now: what would you say if I told you that all of these maladies could be cured with the same tonic? That’s right, ladies and gentlepersons, a daily spoonful of the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All, chock full of bitters, will revive your system and keep you fresh and fit. If I told you that, what, would you say?
What you should say is BULLSHIT!
This tonic features bitters, an old fashioned ingredient for cocktails. So old fashioned, that they were actually invented as medicines, based on a principle that originated with Hippocrates in 5th century that said that “evil” could be used to expel “evil”—so, drinking something bitter-tasting would help you purge “choleric humor,” or stomach bile. In the 19th century, bitters like these were marketed as amazing cure-alls, useful for treating everything from headaches, stomach aches, incontinence, impotence, and anything else.
While some people do still subscribe to the “bitter principle” (I found a website that says, “Learn why and what bitters can to do tune up your whole system), bitters like these are not considered medicine anymore. What they are, are a delicious way to bring a little extra spice and balance to your cocktails.
Even though it’s generally agreed that bitters are not the panaceas they were once claimed to be, there are other substances out there being marketed as having medicinal properties that we should be just as skeptical of. For example, it is not hard to websites or shops that will tell you that green tea can cure a whole host of ills, from gingivitis and high cholesterol to even cancer. It is incredibly dangerous to give people advice to drink tea instead of getting cancer treatment. While there are herbs that have medicinal properties—a lot of medicines are derived from plants!—when you buy herbal remedies, you’re taking something that is not regulated, so you could be taking a dosage that’s useful at best, and potentially fatal at worst.
What I hope you take away from this, ladies an gentlemen, is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, I have some good news for you, as well: the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All is clinically proven to cure sobriety!
The Amazing Skepchick Cure-All
2 oz vodka
1/2 oz green tea syrup*
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass with a few ice cubes and stir briskly to chill.
*To make green tea syrup, steep four green tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add 1 cup of sugar, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.