A little comfort in a glass…

Hot ToddyAs the days get shorter, the nights get colder and the calendar turns toward winter, we start to hear it: The sniffles from the person in the next cubicle. The dreaded middle-of-the-night coughs from a child. It’s the cacophony of cold season, and we are headed into the throes of it.

Last week, Sunday evening, I had it, the scratchy throat, the stuffiness, yuck, I just started to feel bad. As I brought my oldest son to scouts, I decided I was not staying, as I usually do as an Assistant Scoutmaster. So I said my goodbyes, and the Scoutmaster told me, “You know what you need don’t you?” Well, I knew what he was talking about as we are both aficionados of a good single malt scotch. I replied, “it couldn’t hurt”. Which got me to thinking, why not?

I went home and looked up some good recipes for a Hot Toddy. I started reading up on them. And I came across some stuff that made a lot of sense. Many studies show conventional treatments are not as effective or have the same effectiveness rate as classic home remedies, and the overuse of them can actually lower effectiveness moving forward. The vapors from a hot toddy can help with congestion. The effect of the alcohol in a toddy can dilate blood vessels, helping mucus and white blood cells fight infection, and can also provide a mild sedative, making for a good night’s sleep when slumber is elusive because of cold symptoms. I guess you can say, it is the original nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-so-you-can-rest-medicine. I decided to give a go, and even if it didn’t work. it sure would taste good going down.

So here is my recipe for a good Hot Toddy:

In a mug mix the following…

1/3 cup of a decent blended Scotch Whisky. (sorry, I’m not using Laphroaig or Glenmorangie in a toddy!)
2 tbls of Raw Honey
1 to 2 tbls of Lemon Juice
dash of Cinnamon or a Cinnamon stick (or both)
dash of Cloves, or you can use a whole Cloves
top off with hot water, hot tea or hot apple cider

As a final, note, I did not use any over the counter medicines, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my symptoms went away much quicker than normal. I was good to go by Wednesday. Normally, this stuff hangs on for weeks, but not this time. Hmmm… good stuff that!

If you have used the Hot Toddy for the time when you have had a cold, leave your comments below and tell us your story.

Forming your own Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

Here are some guidelines in forming your own, Pint, Pipe and Cross Club.

Inklings member, J.R.R. Tolkien enjoying a good pipe.

Inklings member, J.R.R. Tolkien enjoying a good pipe.

Keep it simple. The purpose of this men’s club is to facilitate the free discussion of the Catholic faith, good literature, good beer, pipes and cigars. This is to keep within the tradition of the “Inklings”, a group made famous by such members as J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Roger Lancelyn Green, Hugo Dyson, Robert Harvard and C.S. Lewis, to name a few, who met at The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford.  Inklings member, Warren Lewis, brother of C.S. Lewis wrote this about the group “Properly speaking, the Inklings was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.”

With that thought in mind, that too is how a Pint, Pipe and Cross Club should be formed, informal rather than structured. No rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections. Men need to fellowship with other good Catholic men. So instead of a Bible study, the following structure is suggested:

  1. Pick a location, such as a pub, microbrewery, or coffee shop. Somewhere with seating and room to just hang out and talk. Preferably somewhere that allows smoking.
  2. Meet monthly
  3. Have a spiritual advisor
  4. Begin and end each gathering with prayer, giving thanks, asking for petitions and praying for one another.
  5. Have a spiritual book in progress at all times. One chapter a month. Discuss, but set no time limit on discussion. Let conversation flow freely.
  6. Relax and have a good time. Fellowship, but don’t necessarily limit to spiritual discussion.
Raise a pint and join in good fellowship.

Raise a pint and join in good fellowship.

The emphasis of discussion should be on good Catholic literature, writings of the saints and other spiritual writings. Non-Catholics may be permitted to be members, keeping in mind that no anti-Catholic writings should be discussed or permitted. Use this time to grow in your faith, learn a deeper understanding and develop lifelong friendships among your Catholic brothers. Sharing good times, mentoring one another and supporting each other.

Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

Note: Though not a member of the Inklings, the Pint, Pipe and Cross Club takes its name from a quote by G.K. Chesterton “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.” As a side note, G.K. Chesterton does have a link to the Inklings, member C.S. Lewis sites the writings of G.K. Chesterton as highly influential in his own journey to re-embracing his Christian faith.

If you form a Pint, Pipe and Cross Club, please feel free to use these guidelines and send me a post where your club meets. I will post up your clubs info on this site and the Facebook page. Also, feel free to use the logo I designed. You may put it on flyers to advertise in your parish and even enlarge it and use it at your meeting place. Let us know how your group progresses, and more importantly, grow in your faith and friendships!

BTW, please keep in mind that we should always follow all the virtues, especially the virtue of temperance when participating in a Pint, Pipe and Cross Club gathering. As G. K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.” In other words, we show our gratitude to God for wine and beer by enjoying these things, in good cheer and warm company, but not enjoying them to excess. For more information I suggest reading this fine article: The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking by Sean P. Dailey

Where’er the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s music and laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
~Hilaire Belloc

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Serious Sin

Some very good advice!

The Catholic Gentleman

Have you ever struggled with a grave sin? I mean something really serious. You want with all your heart to break this sin’s power in your life, but no matter how hard you struggle and pray, you just keep falling into it. You are constantly feeling guilty, and the guilt keeps you from approaching Our Lord through fear. In confession, you find yourself humiliated to be confessing the same serious matter yet again. But no matter how much you hate the presence of this sin in your life, you just can’t stop committing it.

St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Advice

We’ve all been there—struggles like this are a part of the Catholic life. But how do we handle this kind of repeated sin without falling into despair? St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast day is today, has some advice.

Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin…

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Pipe Smoking 101

I thought this was a very good post and wanted to share for those who are think of starting up a chapter of the Pint, Pipe and Cross Club.

The Catholic Gentleman

There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a good pipe—the sweet scent, the smoke rising in gentle clouds, the feel of finely crafted briar in your hand. Then add a good conversation with another man, or even just gazing into space while sitting on your front porch, and you get a wonderful, time-honored, and manly hobby.

Since starting this blog, I have gotten a number of comments and questions about pipe smoking. It’s understandable, as smoking has a long and venerable tradition among men, and especially among Catholics. G.K. Chesterton, Pope St. Pius X, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hilaire Belloc, and St. Damian of Molokai are just some of the famous Catholic smokers. If you take up smoking, you’re in good company.

Because I’ve gotten so many inquiries on this hobby, I’ve decided to share a few basics on how to get started.


Smoking has gotten a serious black eye due…

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Beer, Wine, Pipes, Cigars and the Catholic Good Life!

The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.
G.K. Chesterton


In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.
GK Chesterton


From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.
Saint Arnold of Metz, The Patron Saint of Brewers


Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
Hilaire Belloc


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of good wine.
St. Thomas Aquinas


I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
St. Brigid of Ireland



Welcome to the Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

Yesterday, Aug 6, 2013, I and a couple of others were inspired to attempt to start a Pint, Pipe and Cross Club based upon a post on Facebook by The Catholic Gentleman about a GK Chesterton quote, “the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.”

Eagle_and_Child_(interior)What a marvelous idea. I really enjoying having a good pint of strong ale (I homebrew 🙂 ), smoking my pipe and enjoying good, even spirited conversation about the Catholic faith. I think it was all kind of spontaneous, but I immediately envisioned a group of men gathering at a local pub once or twice a month and partaking of this type of activity. I picture JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis meeting at the Eagle and Child Pub (or as they called it, The Bird and Baby) in Oxford, engaging in lively discussion, having a few laughs, hefting a few pints, surrounded by pipe and cigar smoke, challenging one another to live as better Christian men.

This has all the elements that good Catholic men love, and it makes for a good environment to keep each other accountable and engaged in their faith.

Let me know your thoughts. I see this being something more. Catholic men gathering in an informal way to discuss the important things in life. It need not be complicated or contrived, but a organic movement. I love it. What say you?