Mom always said, for as far back as she could remember, the hot toddy was one of “nature’s natural cures”, for easing all those horrible aches and pains that are associated with the winter season and the common cold. She compared it to “Jewish penicillin”, aka. chicken soup, which works because your brain thinks it works, not because there is actual science behind it. But as it turns out, according to the CDC, a hot toddy is actually very beneficial to your health and overall well-being (in moderation). From a scientific perspective, the hot toddy is great for soothing your cold and warming your bones, all the while giving more validation to the saying we’ve all heard–mom’s always right–but isn’t it great that alcohol is included in this motherly lesson?! Let’s face it, generally speaking, a hot toddy is basically just a shot or two of any [brown] potent spirit added to a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon–mother nature doesn’t want to make it too difficult!
We can hear the naysayers now, “Nyquil is better, because it not only eases my congestion, but I’m finally able to sleep.” Well naysayers, we’re happy to inform you that it is actually a known fact that the ingredients in a hot toddy do the exact same thing! Not only are you now resting easy, but because the alcohol inside the whiskey / whisky, brandy, or rum (depending on which 1 base you choose) is also assisting in fighting off the infection and the growth of microorganisms!
Whiskey / Whisky acts as a great decongestant! Some of the other health benefits of whiskey/whisky include: its ability to aid in weight loss, slow down the onset of dementia, increase heart health, prevent and manage diabetes, boost good cholesterol, fights against cancer, eliminate blood clots, and strengthen the immune system. Generally speaking, whiskey is one of the healthiest forms of alcohol available.
Brandy has some of the most interesting and unusual health benefits–no wonder it’s been popular since the ol’ days! Brandy’s ability to slow the signs of aging and treat certain types of cancer take the cake for the top reasons! In addition to those undeniably beneficial traits, brandy also boosts heart health, improves sleep patterns, assists with weight issues, reduces respiratory problems, and also increases the strength of the immune system. If those aren’t enough health benefits and reasons as to why you should enjoy brandy , with your hot toddy, then we don’t know what is!
Rum contains anti-microbial properties and provides a soothing-warming effect to the affected person. Not only was rum the first branded spirit, but according to Refadoc, “drinking a moderate amount of rum is known to increase the average lifespan of a person by 2 to 5 years.” Not only can rum make your life longer, rum can help prevent Osteoporosis by increasing the bone mineral density . Yet, another reason why mommy dearest suggests it!
Whiskey / whisky, brandy or rum combined with the herbal tea, a squeeze of honey, lemon, and the warm steam emanating from the drink, (perhaps even with a stick of cinnamon and star anise to feel fancy!) By the time you finish the drink, you will not only be breathing a bit easier, but the alcohol will also start working its magic in the sleep department, making you just groggy enough so you can get some much needed shuteye. All thanks to the mother nature’s very own hot toddy!
There are many variations to the Hot Toddy on how this “cocktail cure” is concocted, but the bottom line is that in a large cup or glass, pour any [brown] potent spirit, honey, lemon juice, 1/2 lemon rind, and nutmeg. Stand cinnamon stick in the cup.
- Pour the boiling water and stir well to blend.
- Adjust honey to suit your sweetness.
- Adjust lemon juice to suit your taste.
- Stir, sip slowly and let yourself enjoy the relief from the hot toddy — a concoction so natural it must be good for you!
As with any remedy that incorporates booze as a main ingredient, there is such a thing as too many hot toddies…That is if your goal is to actually feel better. While the alcohol in one drink is great for falling asleep and feeling refreshed, one or two too many and the sleep you receive won’t be that refreshing at all, and could cause you to wake up the next morning with worse symptoms than you had before.
We’re not a doctor, but like our Mom always said, “stick to one and you should be good to go!”
HOT TODDY RECIPE(S)
The Hot Toddy
8oz Hot Water
1 Bag Herbal Tea
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Lemon Wedge
Pour hot water into mug and steep tea for 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bag and add honey, stirring to dissolve. Pour in whiskey, add squeeze of lemon, stir, sip, and find relief!
Apple-Brandy Hot Toddy *
At Paley’s Place in Portland, Oregon, bartender Suzanne Bozarth puts a French spin on this warming drink with apple brandy.
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups apple brandy, Suzanne prefers Calvados
Eight 3-inch cinnamon sticks
In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and apple brandy. Set a cinnamon stick in each of 8 mugs or heatproof glasses, pour in the hot liquid and serve.*
*This recipe’s serving size is definitely for a family or fRamily affair.
The Rum Hot Toddy
3 ounces dark rum
(or to suit taste)
4 tablespoons liquid honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 piece lemon rind
1⁄16 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 -4inch cinnamon stick (whole)
6 – 8 ounces boiling water
Using a large heavy duty cup or glass, add rum, honey, lemon juice, 1/2 lemon rind, and nutmeg. Stand cinnamon stick in the cup. Pour the boiling water and stir well to blend. Adjust honey to suit your sweetness and adjust lemon juice to suit your taste. Sip slowly and enjoy.
The Classic Hot Toddy
1 tablespoon honey
½ ounce lemon juice
1 cup hot water
Lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and star anise, for garnish (optional)
Combine the first 4 ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug. If desired, garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick or star anise. Sip & enjoy!
*Maybe this cold is a family or fRamily affair; maybe you and your roommate or your honey are sick at the same time? In any event you find yourself in, if you need 5-8 servings of a hot toddy you can reference the Apple-Brandy Hot Toddy and use any base you like to get the stir, sip, and relief party started! Please drink responsibly and feel better soon!