Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Cure for the Common Cold - The Hot Toddy

With the mercury dropping faster than we can say “what-the-hell-happened-to-summer”, the lurgy is dead set ready to catch us all one-by-one. Luckily for us 21st century inhabitants, to every problem there is a centuries-old resolution, and its now common knowledge that the only sensible way to fight the common cold is to dull your senses with hot toddies.

In truth, medicinally speaking, there is nothing soothing at all about whisky-based cocktails other than that if you drink enough of them, all knowledge of any physical discomfort will be obliterated. Nevertheless, with my first sore throat of Winter ‘13/’14 I’m game for trying a little home brewed cure.


Traditionally-speaking, the recipe for a hot toddy in its most basic and true form is this: whisky, hot water, sugar or honey. I believe the quantities are 'to taste' - some of us have more whisky than others...

But now, as we’re all sophisticated and trendy these days and not sitting around a cauldron in the weather-beaten Scottish Highlands, we can start adding all sorts of fancy extra accoutrements to make the cure for reduced olfactory sensibilities just a little more enjoyable.


Suggestions for exciting additions to the standard hot toddy that I have found during my extensive research include: cloves, lemon rind, cinnamon, stem ginger, root ginger, ginger ale, black tea, lemon and ginger tea, apple juice, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, a slice of apple, swapping the whisky for rum, gin or even tequila.

Essentially, it seems as though you can virtually concoct anything you like and still call it a hot toddy, just as long as its thoroughly cockle-warming.

Real Hot-Toddy geeks go one step further and get all intertwined in the delicacy of mixing your whisky flavours with your seasonings: no point putting an elegant, smoky, salty island whisky with ginger ale and black pepper as all the flavours clash and swamp one another. Similarly, a rich American bourbon will totally override a delicate sliver of apple. But I'll stop there as it is all getting a little geeky and this sore throat will hold out no longer.


My Hot Toddy Recipe

For me today I will be opting for a simple equation:

A measure (or two) of whisky, a teaspoon of honey, and dash of lemon juice in a small mug or brandy glass, topped up with boiling water and all swizzled with a stick of cinnamon.

Mmmm, I'm feeling better already. Roll on the next cold, I'm pretty keen to try the tequila version...

Any Hot-Toddy recipes to recommend? We'd love to hear your tried and tested recipes.

Images taken from tienvijftien, trophy geek and Timothy Krause's photostreams under the Creative Commons License.

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