Friday Cocktail: The Hot Toddy

The weather in London has suddenly turned rather cold (there may be snow tonight!) and that means I’m in the mood for warming, comforting drinks like mulled wine, cider, and this week’s post, the hot toddy.

As well as seeking refuge from the cold, I happen to have a bit of a cold myself, which is never fun. When I was growing up I remember one or two occasions where I was so sick that I just could not fall asleep that my mom made me a version of a hot toddy using sleepy time tea, honey, lemon, and about teaspoon of rum that would immediately knock me out.

Doing a bit of research into why a hot toddy is such a wonderful help for the common cold I found that the whiskey helps dilate your blood vessels, making it easier to breathe if you have a stuffy nose, while the alcohol helps knock off any micro-organisms while the steam from the cup travels up your nose. Another benefit of including a bit of alcohol is its ability to make you drowsy, which, since I can’t take Nyquil (it gives me awful nightmares) is a welcome help.

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Even if you are perfectly healthy, there is something wonderfully comforting about the more ‘adult’ version of a hot toddy, which is wonderfully simple, and is the perfect drink for sipping inside on a cold night (fire optional), among friends, or with a good book. Another thing I really like about it is how customisable it is– you can use just about any tea you’d like, and add any spirit you like ( I’ve tried one with gin once that was surprisingly nice). It may take a bit of experimenting to find the combination you like the most, but once you do it will quickly become a favourite winter drink.

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Ingredients (for one): 

• Black Tea

• Lemon

• 1/2 tsp honey

• 2oz whiskey or bourbon

Directions: 

  1. Brew tea as you usually would
  2. Add the whiskey, honey (to taste), and a lemon wheel
  3. Enjoy!

This may very well become your go-to winter drink. It would be lovely before or after a Thanksgiving meal, and at any holiday gathering, or post ice-skating or other outdoor activity. In fact, one of my favourite memories from last winter is taking a thermos-full to warm up with after sledding during the snowstorm we had in Nashville.

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