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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Doctor’s Orders

I have a one-on-one lesson with a student from a large Czech company. He’s a nice guy in his late fifties, likes to travel, eat, drink, be merry. He doesn’t use English for his job, but wants to keep his skills on the same level just for foreign travel. Last year when I was sick with a chest cold, he suggested medicine: a shot of Tullamor Dew.

Home made slivoviceLast week this student canceled class cuz of a “big” cough. Today we told me some remedy his friend suggested: tea with honey … and a shot of slivovice. His eyes went wide. He got up from his chair and rummaged through a cabinet. In his hands was bottle of this south Moravian liquor. “A present for you,” he said. “Ha-ha haaaa!” I quickly accepted this gift because, as I’ve been told, the best slivovice is the home-made stock of Moravian families.

Slivovice is fermented plums. Dozens of distilled brands line the shelves. But the really “good” stuff comes from south Moravia. Home made hooch. Your basic white lightning.

It’s a tradition down there to gather your family plum tree’s produce in the autumn, crush the fruit, and ferment it in the family cellar in the back yard. It seems every family with a home also has a wine cellar in back. They make their own wine, and ferment their own plums for slivovice. Families also design their own labels. You gotta appreciate a family that takes pride in its own brand.

I think I’m going to have to give this a try right now. Hey, it’s nearly noon!

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