From the Daily Telegraph:
My grandmother would have been delighted by the news that Russian football supporters visiting Wales for an international have been urged ‘to drink a lot of Welsh whisky as a form of disinfection’ against swine flu. In my family, the belief in whisky as a panacea — albeit the proper Scotch stuff — runs deep. My grandma first dosed me with the miracle cure, in the form of a hot honeyed toddy, when I was seven and had a severe cold. The warm peaty fumes, which briskly cleared my nasal passages, were a vast improvement on the menthol and eucalyptus pong of Vicks VapoRub.
Then, aged 11, I experienced sudden and excruciating toothache while biting into a tough pork chop. My mother whizzed into the adjoining pub and came back with a measure, and an instruction to swill it round the offending tooth. The pain vanished under the onslaught of firewater — although I smelt more like a distillery than is customary in a child attending a C of E primary school.
In my twenties, I started building up my own medicine cabinet: Famous Grouse, Highland Park, Talisker. Then I married a Scot and diversified into Bell’s, Ardbeg and Jura. When I had an office in London, I kept a bottle of Scotch in my filing cabinet. It’s still a rare day when I don’t have a hip flask on my person: you never know when someone will assault your personal space with a cough or sneeze.
Why else would whisky be known as ‘the water of life’ (the literal translation of its original Gaelic name)? Let me refer you to the case of Glennis Middleton, who in 2002 drank a dose of anti-freeze left on a table by mistake — “I just thought it was particularly strongly flavoured water,” said the 51-year-old — and faced kidney failure, blindness and even death. Doctors in Dundee told her that only alcohol would save her, and she chose to be dosed with two cupfuls of whisky.