Soups, stews, tea — our winter menu of warm, soul-soothing treats runs the gamut as we franticly try to overcome winter’s chill. When you’re battling not only the cold, but a cold as well, the task of staying warm through and through can become an uphill battle.
Enter: the hot toddy. Said to have originated in Scotland, the classic hot toddy contains a shot of whisky, a teaspoon of honey and a dash of fresh lemon, topped with boiling water to create a tea-like potion. Breathe in the steam, and sip it slowly. It’s the perfect remedy to clearing up your cold.
“A hot toddy has many hidden benefits,” says Ashley Hilmes, CEO and founder of Boston’s VEGA Vitality. “Drinking lemon juice, for instance, can help to maintain the pH balance of the body and brighten your skin, and honey can loosen congestion and help prevent dehydration. Whisky works as a great decongestant, as well. The alcohol dilates the blood vessels, making it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with a cold.”
All these ingredients together promote salivation, which brings on the mucus. That might seem counterintuitive — you want your nose to dry up, right? But, actually, mucus helps ward off bacteria and viruses. Add in spices (think cinnamon, cloves, and ginger) and you’ll also increase salivation to soothe a sore throat and dry cough. Bonus: Alcohol is a sedative, so off you go into cozy relaxation mode.
While a hot toddy’s warm and fuzzies are soothing, if you indulge in more than one you’ll be fuzzy with worse symptoms the next day. Stick to just one, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to stay home and curl up on the couch, even when you do have a cold. You’ve got to work, meet with clients and friends. Life doesn’t stop. Since you’ve had to pretty yourself up and act social anyway, we’ve sought out hot toddy offerings around Boston and beyond. Some bars stay classic, while others have brewed their own versions for fighting winter woes.
- Cunard Tavern features house-made lychee syrup, lemon, green tea and Japanese whisky Suntory Toki.
- City Tap House’s traditional Hottie Tottie features Blanton’s bourbon, honey, lemon, clover and hot water.
- The Sumiao Hunan Kitchen toddy features lemon-honey black tea, whisky, house-made lavender-clove reduction and a dose of Disaronno amaretto with a lemon twist.
- The Hawthorne’s hot toddy combines Great King Street Glasgow Blend whisky, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice and Angostura aromatic bitters.
- STRIP by Strega’s Todd’s Revival’s features clove-soaked Mount Gay XO rum, cinnamon-soaked High West Campfire whisky, honey, ginger simple syrup, chai, Angostura bitters and lemon twist.
- Alden & Harlow’s What Cider You On features Japanese whisky, pear cordial, citric acid and orange bitters.
- The Friendly Toast’s Winter is Coming toddy features Jameson whisky, birch liqueur, Earl Grey tea, simple syrup, clove, lemon and hot water.
- Bistro Du Midi features Maker’s Mark, honey syrup, lemon and cinnamon.
And if that all doesn’t do the trick, get completely cozy with The Hot Toddy package at The Francis in Portland, Maine. The boutique hotel package includes accommodations for two, two hot toddy cocktails enjoyed fireside in The Francis’ parlor, and a Hot Toddy for the Body spa treatment.