Whiskey for An Cailleach

For An Cailleach

I woke up early this morning and the Poisoner had made me tea. “Don’t look outside,” he said. So of course I did. The first snow of the season in this old town. Thick, heavy, fluffy snow, driven hard by a fierce wind, falls from the sky; contrasted against the ancient holly tree bearing its bloody fruits. The Cailleach has arrived, shaking her apron. Groggy with sleep, my first instinct was to light the candle in the kitchen window and pour her a glass a whiskey. “For the blue hag,” I said, and pointed at the Cailleach mask hanging on my wall. It’s always better to welcome and appease the fierce Old Woman. A Scot and a witch too, the Poisoner didn’t blink at my simple rite.

View from the backyard

There is fresh ginger root and lemons and cinnamon sticks and honey in my kitchen. Time for another Scots tradition since we’re both sick with a nasty cold: a hot toddy.

  • 1 oz whiskey or rum
  • 1-2 cups hot water
  • 1-2 lemon wedges
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Soothes a sore throat, but only have 1-2 a day during your cold and drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic tea to keep yourself hydrated. I feel a very strong desire to make a fresh ginger and honey cough syrup with coltsfoot and mullein… But now to curl up with my hot toddy and an early Yule gift of a book of 1800’s Scottish folklore while my flying ointments infuse warmly in the oven.

Hot toddy

Author Sarah

Illustrator and weaver of words. Witch. Forest siren with talons, succubic tendencies, a love of otherworldly beauty, poisonous plants, wild places and dead things.

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Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Your wellness beverages sound amazing. The herbalist in me likes when I get sick because it’s always a chance to try new things and try to make them better so that I can tell others about them. Your pictures always comfort my soul 🙂

  • Kim Mohar says:

    Wonderful pictures

    Sent from my iPhone

  • Tara Janisch says:

    your postings make me feel alive.

  • Tsirhc says:

    And at some point when you look at the Cailleach mask you will realize that it is you………..Future and the Future of All..welcome Age and Winter

  • Simpe but very nice. I like how every time I read one of your posts I feel like I’ve had a tiny glimpse into an enchanted world or something. Also, yay for snow…until it gets hard like a brick of course. Blessings.

  • I have to say, that sounds like a thoroughly gorgeous and enviable day, nasty cold and all!

  • Stefan says:

    It looks wonderful, and I think your house very much resembles Baba Yaga’s.
    Im sorry if it doesnt fit here, but comments elsewhere are close and I cant find an email address, but… you had several images of dried belladonna berries posted, a while ago.. I was wondering, how did you dry them? I want to grow some atropa belladonna, myself, and dry the berries, so I was wondering how you did it xx
    Have an amazing day x

  • SilverFox says:

    What a gorgeous little kitchen window, I lovelovelove the candle holder and the mushroom vase is interesting… the Cailleach arrived here in style a few days ago and nailed Rochester to the ground with some stinging freezing rain, followed by a powdercoat of fluffy snow… My Kale loves it! Perfect timing for me on this post, everyone at my work but myself was sick this past week, and sure enough, I lost my voice this morning… Off to make myself a hot toddy now, thanks for sharing the recipe! Blessings from the East

  • Sue says:

    I was wondering why your whisky was clear – but then I see it is White Owl … how perfect indeed! Well speed in your recovery …

  • Jose Prado says:

    Lol I can imagine the look on the Poisoner’s face when you put that mask on

  • Matthew says:

    I’ve only recently found this wonderful place. It comes amidst moments so as to make me believe it true that I am led here. Thank you.

  • Witchy_Girl says:

    Might actually make a hot toddy next time me or my boyfriend is ill with a cold! Will add recipe into my Book of Shadows at the earliest opportunity!

  • strega says:

    Great pics, we don’t get snow ever, looks beautiful

  • I’m feeling well, so I’ve no excuse, but your hot toddy sounds wonderful. I’ll be sure to try it the next time I feel under the weather.