Step right up, folks, and witness the magnificent medicinal miracle of Simpson & Son’s patented revitalizing tonic! Put some ardor in your larder with our energizing, moisturizing, tantalizing, romanticizing, surprising, her-prizing, revitalizing tonic!
Do I have your attention? Good, because we’ve got a high quality Simpsons episode to talk about along with an illuminating, titillating, not-nauseating recipe!
The episode is the sixth season classic “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy,” and it begins with, well, a lot of sexual inadequacy. Marge and Homer are having “marital problems,” and decide to try and tackle the issue with a trip to the erotic section of the book store. They settle for Paul Harvey’s book on tape Mr. and Mrs. Erotic American, while Lisa gets a copy of Al Gore’s book and causes a celebration of sorts in the vice president’s office (“I will!”). Kicking off the B-story for this episode, Bart picks up a book on UFOs and becomes obsessed with the paranormal.
Marge and Homer try all of the book’s suggestions — taking a bath together (they get stuck), an overnight trip to a motor lodge (in the not-so-sexy Utility Room) — and end up running over the tape with the car a few times in frustration. Surprising everyone ever, Grampa Simpson has the sexual solution. He mixes up a batch of his Revitalizing Tonic while rambling about its origins as a cheap substitution for holy water. Practically the entire contents of his ancient-looking medicine cabinet goes into a bottle—medicines, perfumes, ointments. Who knows what’s in the brown concoction? All we know is that Homer drinks it and it works instantly. He speeds home, shoves $50 at the kids, sends them to the movies, and his pants end up in a tree.
My favorite gag from this episode shows a train going into a tunnel, a rocket lifting off, and hot dogs going down a conveyer belt. It seems like a cliché way to allude to Marge and Homer’s sex scene, but then you see Bart and Lisa sitting in the theater watching the hot dogs at the Springfield Stock Footage Festival. A stock footage festival, you guys! Genius.
Homer and Grampa go into business selling the magical tonic around Springfield and then in neighboring towns like Spittle County (“I know I’m gonna get rich with this scheme… and quick!”). During a family quarrel, Homer kicks Abe out of the car when he declares that Homer was an accident. In the end, the two simultaneously burn down the old Simpson homestead and make up while rolling in the grass. I’m over-simplifying things, but you get the picture?
So let’s get back to the tonic. The Liquid Lothario, distilled Don Juan, catalytically-carbonated Cassanova. The brown, bubbly liquid that sent men all over Springfield running home to sweep their wife off their feet. I considered buying a bunch of old-timey medicinal products and dumping them together until I got the right color, but I was afraid I would actually go blind. There’s just no way to duplicate the drink as described while holding on to your common sense and good health (NOTE: Cooking The Simpsons does NOT condone the mixture of various medications to be consumed as a sexy stimulant. Mmm… sexy stimulant.) And since the ingredients are in no way specified, it left the recipe wide open to interpretation.
While pondering the tonic’s powers and attempting to keep the drink, you know, drinkable, my mind turned to aphrodisiacs. Their effectiveness is controversial, but many people consume specific foodstuffs in their search for virility. Some items that have long been lauded for these properties are more common than you might think: coffee, chocolate, honey and spice. And that’s how I ended up with a coffee and chocolate drink with a bit of kick. It’s brown and bubbly like the Simpson & Son Tonic, but tastes sweet, spicy, and just-rich-enough. Add a little powdered rhino horn if you have it for an extra umph. (NOTE: Cooking The Simpsons does NOT condone the illegal use of rhino horns for getting horny.)
Mix up the coffee mixture ahead of time and chill it thoroughly. It’ll last a few days in the fridge—just make sure to give it a good shake before combining with soda water.
Original label image by Nick Rees
Simpson & Son Revitalizing Tonic*
½ heaping cup medium-ground coffee
1 cinnamon stick, smashed
¼ teaspoon peppercorns, smashed
2 ½ tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
About 3 cups soda water
Place the coffee, cinnamon, peppercorns, honey and cocoa in a heatproof container. Boil 3 cups water in a small saucepan or a kettle. Pour boiling water over the coffee and spices and stir. Let brew for 5 minutes. Stir well and strain. Refrigerate until chilled.
When ready to serve, fill a glass or bottle halfway and top off with soda water. Carefully stir. Give your kids 50 bucks and send them to the movies.
*Results are not guaranteed, but this drink will put some pep in your step!
Laurel Randolph is a food and lifestyle writer hailing from Tennessee and living in Los Angeles. She enjoys cooking, baking and candlestick making. Tweet at her face: @laurelrandy.