I just spent the last two days in Hershey, PA—arguably the “Sweetest Place on Earth” (only Willy Wonka would disagree, I’m sure).
I’ve been to Hershey before; we’re lucky to only live less than two hours away.
At this time of year, with light snow flurries falling, it was absolutely stunning. The service was impeccable, clearly surpassing any other four star hotel at which I’ve stayed, from the concierge service to the wait-staff at one of the in house restaurants, trevi 5.
The only unfortunate part of my visit was that about three hours in, I was lucky enough to be the next in line to get hit with a stomach bug.
My face started to pale at dinner, and I wasn’t sure if I was actually getting sick, or if it was something else (wishful thinking). Our waiter seemed to have the inside scoop, or maybe she figured my ginger ale order, untouched plate of Caesar salad and beautifully cooked—but untouched—filet were signs that something just wasn’t right.
She quietly boxed up my food, including the dessert, and offered me crackers and a ginger ale “to go” to take back to my room.
Then, the just before I finally left, she said, “Would you like some bitters to help settle your stomach?”
Bitters? That’s so…1890’s. Right?
I’ve heard of bitters from reading lots of classic literature over the years, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it (they?) was (were?). That night I declined, but perhaps I should have tried them.
After reading up, it appears that bitters are more of a cure for indigestion, rather than stomach flu—but hey, I would have tried anything!
So what are bitters?
Here’s what Wiki had to say: most commonly, bitters are from Angostura, in Trinidad and Tobago, and are made from a mixture of water, alcohol, genetian root, and vegetable flavor extracts. The true recipe, however, is a closely guarded secret. Often they’re used in cocktails and other mixers, but they can also be used to settle an upset stomach.
Regardless of having all the details, what I do know is that bitters are making a comeback in the stomach ailment arena (and also with cocktails!), just like a lot of other classic things that have come back into fashion – or stayed in fashion.
What’s your best way to cure an upset stomach?