Posca – Roman Gatorade

Posca is a wonderfully refreshing drink that was used by Romans to deal with a hot Mediterranean climate and hard physical work. If you were poor or a soldier, it’s just vinegar and water. If you were lucky enough to afford it, honey was added.

A sugar, an acid, and water: This formula has been used as an electrolyte replacer for millennia. It’s MUCH better than water for keeping you happy and functional on a hot working day. The Persians did a mint/sugar thing called Sekanjibin. In the medieval period it was called shrub. In the American south it was switchel… until it was replaced with lemonade.

It’s super easy to make:

1 part vinegar (I use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar for its digestive benefits. The Romans would have used wine vinegar)

1 part honey

You don’t even need to heat it – just stir it a little. That gives you a syrup that is shelf stable and great for transporting to events. Dilute it about 10-1 with water in a cup or pitcher. If it burns, add more water. If it tastes bad, add more syrup. I know that sounds odd, but just trust me.

NOTE: Some people like to add in spices (coriander, ginger, etc) or mint for variety!

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About Sharon Rose, LAc, MSAOM

Acupuncturist, medical massage therapist, historian, scientist, road-tripper, geek, LARP & board gamer, food fan, Roman fanatic, belly-laugher.
This entry was posted in Recreating history, Roman history. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Posca – Roman Gatorade

  1. Skamp says:

    Is there anything to be gained/lost by boiling the base? EXPERIMENTS!

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    • In the case of sekanjibin, which uses sugar, boiling is necessary to get it to really mix in. With honey that doesn’t seem to be an issue – mechanical stirring does the job just fine. I suppose you could boil it if you want to, but I use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar because of the “mother” (see this article on my mundane / professional blog, here ) and high heat would likely kill off the good stuff in there.

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