Hercule Poirot’s Tisanes

By Silar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAlong with Sirop de Cassis, cocoa at breakfast, and other drinks considered by Hastings to be “noxious”, Hercule Poirot is often seen drinking his tisane, to which he attributes health and the acuity of his “little gray cells”.

This recurring theme led me to wonder, what flavor of tisane would Poirot like best?

I often drink teas of mint, lemon balm, and fresh thyme from my herb garden, but these homely brews seem a bit too forthright for a palate like Poirot’s.  He is mentioned in “[amazon asin=0062074008&text=The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb]” as being inordinately fond of Chamomile tea, which has a very delicate greeny-floral taste.

This spring I added a new herb to the garden: Anise Hyssop, with its lovely purple flowers. The taste is described as a cross between mint and liquorice, very intriguing. The tiny sproutlings are barely a millimeter high yet, so I’ll report back when I have enough for a cup. As Poirot is partial to Creme de Menthe, it seems a likely suspect, and it sounds like it could be rather nice. But I’m sure mint + liquorice + three spoons of sugar would meet Hastings’ idea of “vile”!

A more complex recipe on PetitChef, features lavender flowers, basil, and rosemary.  These have all come in recently, so I will try it soon.

A tisane for health is recorded by a mystery lover at Over the Stove & In the Icebox.   The combination of lime and fresh ginger sounds delicious to me, but I think Poirot would have saved it for an imminent fluxion de poitrine, his constant fear in the wet English winters.  Perhaps he sent something similar to the intrepid Bridget in “[amazon asin=0062074415&text=The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding].”

This research led me to one recipe I am really hankering to try – not for tea, but for Eccles Cakes, a classic sweet-treat sold at Fortnum & Masons and recreated by Olla-Podrida  in homage to the sweet-loving Poirot.  The only drawback I see is, are they symmetrical enough for him?  They certainly wouldn’t be after I get hold of them!

Have you ever tried to recreate foods you discovered in vintage novels?  What is your favorite?

1 thought on “Hercule Poirot’s Tisanes”


    Almost literally tripping over the story related to Marcel Proust and the madeleine soaked in tea, I have tentatively noted a few other interesting foods that have been favored by personalities through the ages. Understand this is only a small beginning with few expectations. But, I appreciated your article here about the tisane. There is such an infinite variety of possibilities, I believe you have combed through some very likely suspects for the likes of Hercule Poirot. Thank you. jgd

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