What should I put in that cup?

A picture of a tree Ok, so last time I told you about a friggin' cup. I know you want to hear about gear, but I'm just not ready to nerd out on you that hard yet. First I need to preach to you the gospel of slippery elm.

Slippery Elm, or Ulmus rubra for those with a monocle, is a tree that grows in North America. It's awesome for many reasons. It's a big tree, and those are always nice to see, especially living in a city. It's a shady tree, and this summer is set out to be a doozy. None of that, however, is why slippery elm makes an appearance in the tack shop today. No my friends, it is here in the tack shop because of a special quality it's bark possesses. Namely, if you add a little hot water, the bark turns completely gross. Slimy, puffy, just disgusting really.

Wow, still reading... ok, I wasn't really expecting that. (I was.) The big benefit of this gross mess is how well it soothes a sore throat. I've tried slippery elm in several formats and the best way to use it I've found is tea. I keep a set of lozenges in my carry first aid kit (ooh, another post there, for sure) but the tea is really the cure all. I use Traditional Medicinals: Throat Coat. Aside from their wonderful story about how down home folksy people in Kentucky, who are not at all meant to conjure up images of moonshiners, the tea claims to be sustainably harvested. This is a big deal, because harvesting this bark kills the tree, so... be sustainable about it.

They go ahead and mix in some other flavors along with the slippery elm to make a tea that's spicy, warm, and once you get passed the initial "holy crap, am I drinking someone's saliva" moment, you'll notice your vocal chords sing their gratitude back to you.

PRO TIP: This tea takes forever to steep. 15 minutes. Don't skimp it. They tell you to squeeze the tea bag, too. Squeeze it till it squeals. That's where the slippery elm is.

I drink a contigo full before the show. I bring another one up on stage with me, and then I drink another after the set is done. I drink two cups in the morning. I drink two cups at night. I drink two cups in the afternoon; it makes me feel alright. I drink two cups, in time of peace, and two in time of war. I drink two cups before I drink two cups, and then I drink two more.