Woo’t drink up eisel?

I love when I google a word and its only example of usage is Shakespeare and usually the very line I’m exploring. So. It means vinegar. Okay. I need more.
The only other definition is from the Urban Dictionary where it reportedly means someone who comes from an intellectual or academic background. This is so incredibly specific and again, I want more. Who says this? When? Why?

Anyway – all of that aside.
What’s this drinking vinegar business all about?
People are doing it now all the time for health and hipness.
And my cursory research on the history of vinegar suggests that drinking vinegar wasn’t completely out of the question in Shakespeare’s time either. There were flavored vinegars then, for example.

It’s sour, sure. And wouldn’t taste good to drink, say, a whole bottle of it.

But does that really fall in the same category as tearing one’s self or eating a crocodile? I see why some scholars have theorized that eisel is a lake somewhere. Lake Eisel. So drinking it up WOULD be as challenging as tearing one’s self or eating a crocodile.
But…there’s no evidence of that really so here we are, imagining Hamlet or Laertes downing a bottle of vinegar.

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