Elixirs of Life


Drinks of the Immortals


Before nectar was the drink of bees it was the drink of the gods. Nectar is the Latinized version of the Greek νέκταρ which breaks down into nek (death) and tar (overcoming).


Ambrosial now refers to something that is extremely pleasing to the senses, especially taste. At further examination you can see its parts a- (not) + mbrotos (mortal). In Greek mythology the gods were often drinking or eating something called ambrosia, literally meaning immortal, which imbued them with youth.


Uisce beatha is Gaelic phrase from which we take our word whiskey (a mispronunciation of the first word uisce). Uisce beatha literally means water of life.


Old Tom Parr

ImageOld Tom Parr was an English man who supposedly lived for 152 years.  He subsisted on a diet of milk, cheese, dry bread and whiskey. Here is a poem about him.

Old Parr of Shropshire

That green cheese was most welcome (with an onion),

Coarse maslin bread; and for his daily swig,

Milk, buttermilk, and water, whey and whig,

Sometimes metheglin, and by fortune happy,

He sometimes sipped a cup of ale most nappy.

Here is help decoding the poem:

Green cheese– doesn’t mean the cheese is green in color.  Rather that the cheese is a ‘new cheese’ that hasn’t ripened.  Or a cheese made from whey that is eaten without ripening such as cottage cheese, Neufchatel, mozzarella, or chevre.

Maslin: Medieval bread made from a wheat and rye mixture.

Whey:  The liquid remaining after milk has curdled.  Little Miss Muffet eats curds and whey which is the curdled milk and the liquid left afterwards.

Whig: Don’t know!  Do you??

Metheglin: Is a flavored honey wine.  Plain honey wine is called mead.  If you flavor the mead with a fruit or a spice it is called a metheglin.  It was originally a welsh word meaning medicinal liquor.

Nappy:  is a shallow serving bowl.  The word comes from the Middle English word nap, meaning bowl.  Nappies used to be placed under a foamy beer to catch the overflow. In the case of the poem it means that the beer was foamy.

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