• By Sue Shelden   |   Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7:04 am   |     |   Print   |   Permalink

I’m in London, right now–go ahead, hate me–get it over with–I don’t care, because I’m in London right now! The weather is chilly, with intermittent downpours–a bit like some of the summers I’ve been here, but it is lovely nonetheless.

I desperately wanted to visit with an old Bloomngton friend, and long story, short, ended up totally unannounced at her doorstep, buzzing her doorbell. I was lucky that she wasn’t gallivanting around, being the kind of gallivanting about person she is!

Sophie, my English friend, had first come to Bloomington when she married Stuart, an IU professor of English and brilliant Keats and Shelley scholar. They formed a dynamic pair, traveling the world, collecting art, going to concerts, the theatre, art exhibits, and carrying on dizzying discussions of literature and politics. And they also put together amazing feasts for their many friends.

Sophie has always been an icon to me. Looking around her flat, I now understand how I had the guts to cover my walls with photos and favorite objects and rooms with books. Her staircase is lined with Piranesi prints, and every wall is covered with wonderful things, each one with a story.

Of course, she was quick to offer a drink–sherry is the default beverage on a chilly day, but she had run out. She lit up as the idea came to her to offer a drink referred to as a Whisky Mac. This is a touch of Whisky with Ginger wine. Ginger wine is made of ginger and fermented raisins and is believed to help ward off colds and whatever else ails you. Sophie swears by it, and she is always right!

Ginger wine is not something you’ll easily find in bars or on American shelves–it’s too out of fashion. But, if you are visiting England, you can find it in the wine shops. Stones brand is the one to look for. Their website provides recipes, history and much more.

Cheers to Sophie–the best mentor anyone could ask for!


Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   March 20th, 2013 at 7:04 pm    


I enjoyed your story and am happy you have fended off a cold!

While over there, go to the Food Halls in Selfridge’s and check out the wine department.


• Sue Shelden   |   March 21st, 2013 at 6:30 pm    

Thanks, Ole! I’ve checked out Fortnum and Mason, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Wholefoods. I was disappointed that Wholefoods had a total of 4 English wines!