I usually peruse your articles on food and drink for inspiration, so it was with some dismay that I read the 10 experts’ suggestions for the most refreshing winter tipples (The 10 best hot drinks to share outside – from mulled beer to hot-buttered coconut rum, 1 November).
Even the chef from Lancashire omitted to mention the most illustrious of them all: Benedictine and hot water – or “Benny and Hot” as it is popularly known. This most effective winter warmer is not only a delight to quaff but is also taken for everything from the common cold to croup, a seasonal draught which is a remedy and a drink with an illustrious social history.
When soldiers of the East Lancashire regiment were injured in Normandy during the first world war they were hospitalised in the Benedictine distillery and given Benny and Hot daily as a restorative. They were so astounded at its taste and properties that they brought news of it home. Burnley Miners Social Club is now the distillery’s largest customer and is famous throughout the north for its effects on miners’ lung disease and horrendous hangovers – it often acts as a Sunday stiffener.