In Sickness and In Health: Hot Toddies are the Prescription

It’s February, which means we’re in the height of cold and flu season. Blargh.

I am battling the first cold I’ve had since December 2021, when we all got hit with Omicron. So I’ve had a pretty good run! But now, back to reality (sigh… I knew this day had to come at some point). 😛

When you have a cold, your senses of taste and smell diminish while your immune system kicks into overdrive to kill off the nasty bacteria or viruses inside you. Obviously not a great time to drink wine, as taste and smell are essential to wine’s enjoyment.

There are few things that help one more when sick than a hot toddy cocktail (although chicken soup and thyme tea are also great). It’s got all the components to help soothe the upper respiratory tract and sinuses. Alcohol kills germs, and while a high level of ethyl alcohol will kill germs on a surface, drinking high ABV spirits, sadly, will do nothing to get rid of viruses or bacteria in your body, as our bodies immediately break down the ethyl alcohol.

Oh well. If nothing else, it dulls the pain.

Even if you’re blessed to be in good health at the moment (kinda jealous), a hot toddy is still a heartening and health-promoting companion for a cozy February evening, along with your favorite couch, blanket, book, Netflix show, what have you.

Hot Toddy Cocktail

Hot Toddy… Your sick drink of choice!

Here is my very loose recipe for a hot toddy (because measuring ingredients when you’re sick is too taxing). Best enjoyed in the evening when you are at home, not driving anywhere, and feel like absolute crap (and also not taking any medications that don’t mix with alcohol). Just keep telling yourself, this too shall pass.

  • Boil hot water. Take a deep breath. Soothing relief is mere minutes away!
  • Pour whatever amount of your preferred/available spirit (whiskey, bourbon, rye, brandy, or dark rum) you desire into mug. Eyeballing it, I do about 2-3 tablespoons or so. Lots of great options out there – let me recommend Christian Bros. Brandy or Two Stars Bourbon. But any of the above spirits you like will do. We are not paying attention to subtle flavors and aromas right now, dammit, we’re sick!
  • Once your hot water is boiling, pour desired amount into mug. Though tempting, don’t inhale as the evaporating alcohol will definitely trigger a hacking fit!
  • Add honey to taste and stir to combine. Honey is not just for sweetness; it will coat your sore throat and ease your cough.
  • Cut up however many slices fresh lemon you desire, stab the flesh (of the lemon!!) a few times with a fork to get the juices flowing over the mug, then drop into mug. Make sure nothing drips from your nose into your mug, because, gross!!!
  • Bonus: peeled, sliced ginger is also excellent for the immune system. Drop some of that in if you have it!

Stay well, everyone!