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In My Day: Blackberry Brandy | Lynn Ruth Miller

In my day no matter what ailed me, my father fixed it up with blackberry brandy. If I ate too much for dinner, and I swore I would explode, Daddy would give me a hefty shot of blackberry brandy. If  I suffered from the trots, out came the bottle of  brandy and I downed it in one gulp. If I complained of a sore throat, he insisted I gargle with it and the best part was I got to swallow. In moments I was singing like a canary, or so I thought.

He also used the brandy as a preventative. If we were all going out caroling or to a community sing we would all drink a Warsaw cocktail before we left the house: vodka, vermouth, blackberry brandy and lemon juice. You can’t beat that for numbing the throat, or the whole body for that matter. Now you’d never do that because you’d be charged with child abuse.

Ah, but the malady it cured best was insomnia. Before bedtime Daddy would mix up a Purple People Eater, raspberry and almond liquer, cherry and blackberry brandy, vodka, orange, pineapple and grapefruit juice, and within seconds we were so sound asleep, we often didn’t wake up until dinner time the next day, much to my mother’s delight.

Today, I wonder if the vodka had something to do with it, but my father swore it was the magic of the blackberry brandy that put us out like a light. In my day, we actually thought brandy could cure cancer and reduce tumors. It murdered our colds and kept us from murdering each other. We’ve come a long way from my day and sometimes I wonder how any of us lived to talk about it. But I certainly did, and everyone at the meetings loves that story.

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