It’s officially flu season. According to the CDC, the onset of flu season has been delay recently. If (like me) you thought that you were in the clear, think again. The nasty virus might still be lurking, waiting to take you as its next prey.
And then there is all the other yuckiness that’s been floating around, like that stomach bug that has hit the homes of many FSC contributors and food swappers. My daughter had the 24-hour stomach bug, but luckily I didn’t get it. I’d like to think that’s because I took the proactive approach of disinfecting my gut with healthy doses of Scotch on a regular basis during Puke-Palooza 2012.
Straight-up Scotch not your idea of a good time? Take a mellowed approach with a hot toddy. There are approximately three bazillion ways in which one could make the concoction, but today I’m leaving you with five solid options. Hot toddies are a cure-all that can be consumed to remedy a variety of ailments. William Faulkner (one of my favorite authors) was known for his reliance on the hot toddy to cure everything from “a bad spill from a horse to a bad cold, from a broken leg to a broken heart.” Faulkner works are also notoriously difficult to read… perhaps this is because of too many hot toddies.
Toddies aren’t something to be sipped slowly. Drink your toddy while it’s still piping for best effect. You can tailor your toddy to fit your tastes, but the basic algorithm for toddy perfection is as follows: A little alcohol, a few medicinal/homeopathic ingredients and flavorings, and some hot liquid. That’s it! Keep in mind that some herbs and spices will enhance flavor better than others (here’s a quick listing of what to use based on ailment).
RECIPE: Basic Hot Toddy
This toddy is a good remedy for head colds and scratchy throats
¼ cup (2 ounces) whiskey or bourbon (Maker’s Mark is a great choice here)
Squeeze of lemon
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup (4 ounces) boiling water
In a mug, combine the whiskey, lemon and honey. Add a splash of boiling water and stir to dissolve the honey. Top with remainder of the boiling water. Garnish with a lemon slice (if desired). Enjoy hot.
RECIPE: Tea Toddy
Like the basic toddy, this version is great for sore throats and throbbing heads
¼ cup whiskey or bourbon (again, try Maker’s Mark
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup hot black (steeped with a cinnamon stick broken into 3 pieces) or chai tea
In a mug, combine the whiskey and honey. Add a splash of the tea and stir to dissolve the honey. Top with the remainder of the tea. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy hot.
RECIPE: Hot Rum Toddy
Whiskey, bourbon, brandy and rum are probably the most noted spirits for hot toddies. This version relies on the sweetness of orange liquor to balance the sting of rum. This is a great pick-me-up after sloshing through cold snow on your way home from work.
¼ cup dark rum (Kraken Black Spiced Caribbean Rum is excellent here)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
Squeeze of orange
½ cup hot water
Combine all ingredients in a mug (water does not have to be boiling here, since nothing needs to be dissolved). Stir to combine. Garnish with an orange slice if desired. Enjoy hot.
RECIPE: Hot Gin Toddy
When most people think of gin-based drinks, they don’t think of something hot. Gimlets, Martinis and G&Ts are more apropos, some may say. But gin has amazing juniper flavors and citrus notes that, once heated, act nearly as good as any application of Vicks VapoRub. Drink this Gin Toddy to alleviate a stuffy head and congested sinuses.
¼ cup London Dry Gin (like Tanqueray or Beefeaters)
1 sugar cube (or 1 teaspoon sugar)|Squeeze of lemon
½ cup boiling water
In a mug, combine gin, sugar and lemon. Add enough hot water to dissolve the sugar and stir until mostly dissolved. Add the remainder of the water. Garnish with a lemon slice (if desired) and enjoy hot.
RECIPE: Ginger Toddy
Ginger is a great digestive aide (remember how Mom used to bring you ginger ale and saltines when you had a funny tummy?). Try this toddy to help with stomach problems (for those with bouts of morning sickness, take out the liquor and you have a tasty ginger tea to help with pregnancy woes).
In a mug, combine the hot water and ginger candy. Stir to dissolve the candy (you might have a little nugget left in the bottom of your mug – that’s okay, as long as it’s mostly dissolved). Add the lemon and whiskey and stir to combine. Enjoy hot.