The winters’ chill of December has arrived. A hot tea toddy is just the perfect drink for warming your bones. Perhaps you have a terrible cold as I do right now and all you want more than anything is to feel warm and well.
I long for the hot summer sun and long lazy beach days, but I live here in the northeastern United States. This is our coldest season of the year. Aside from the joy of the holidays, winter is my least favorite season. I’m talking about the kind of cold that chills you to the marrow. In fact, the temperature is going down to single digits tonight. Yay.
It’s time for that hot tea toddy.
The brutal cold weather is ugly and it’s expected. It comes around the same time every year, so you’d think I would be used to it after all these years.
Not so. I can almost guarantee I do NOT enjoy the cold.
So here I am. I tell myself…
Think Good Thoughts”
Gratefully, I have my family with me and a nice warm fire to sit by while I sip my new found winter brew – a hot toddy. This is not just any hot toddy. It’s a hot tea toddy.
Perhaps you’ve made them before and never really took to them. It’s not because you don’t know how to make them. It’s just because you haven’t found the right recipe. That was the case for me anyhow.
The Best Hot Tea Toddy Recipe
(Scroll to bottom for recipe)
In the Old Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide, the classic hot toddy is made by dissolving a lump of sugar in a little water. Add liquor, hot water and stir with clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon peel.
For the liquor, you can use brandy, rum, gin or whiskey. Those are the basics so we can blend it any way we want from here.
I like things a little bit sweet and I don’t like the taste of alcohol. So here is my spin and the ingredients you will need:
- Loose leaf black tea (You need a strong flavor like English Breakfast tea or a nice Keemun works well)
- Cinnamon stick
My Secret No. 1: You can substitute if you don’t have fresh ingredients, but fresher ingredients always result in something a little extra special.
I include the nutritional breakdown for you with every recipe. It’s posted at the very end. But, I also like to include a little bit more about these nutrients and how they benefit your body.
MEDICINAL GOODNESS: (BASED ON WHOLE FRESH INGREDIENTS)
Lemons: They are an excellent source of vitamin C, soluble fibers and plant compounds, all of which can provide health benefits.
Unlike animals, humans do not produce their own vitamin C. We need to take in a sufficient amount of vitamin C to keep our immune system running properly. The stress of illness requires an even higher amount of vitamin C.
Black Tea: Tea is high in polyphenols, a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants have proven health benefits to cardiovascular health.
Black tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine, which is unique to tea and has some very interesting effects on the brain. L-theanine increases alpha brain waves inducing a calm and deeply relaxed state. Combined with the caffeine, which is about half the amount found in coffee, the overall effect is a focused calm.
To learn more about the benefits of tea, you might be interested in reading Top 10 Health Benefits of Tea.
Honey: Studies have found honey to contain an antimicrobial peptide called bee defensin-1. The World Health Organization recommends honey as a treatment for coughs and sore throats.
Clove: Clove is used for upset stomach and as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough up phlegm.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. Some studies show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have potent anti-inflammatory activity.
Alcohol: Alcohol can be good for a cold. The alcohol dilates the blood vessels easing congestion and inducing sleep. This is when used in moderation of course. We all know the deleterious effects of overdoing it.
Recent studies have shown big impacts of alcohol on bacteria in our bodies. One study found that moderate wine drinkers are at a reduced risk of the ulcer and gastric-cancer causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
It seems more and more clear that a little nightly drink may help to keep you healthy. In fact, Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid includes one or two glasses of red wine daily. I’ll take that advice, thank you Dr. Weil!
Truthfully, I am not really a fan of hard liquor but I do enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. And this hot toddy recipe is nice when your feeling a bit under the weather.
I like to use Laird’s AppleJack. It’s not a straight apple brandy, but it reports to have a 35% apple brandy base that gives it a smoother flavor than other whiskeys, made from apples and originating in New Jersey in 1780.
My Secret No. 2: Allow tea leaves to steep freely in the water or in a very large strainer. Do not stuff the leaves into a tea ball or the like. The leaves need to open up to infuse their full flavor.
The Bottom Line
The truth is, rest is the most important ingredient needed to help the immune system work efficiently in fighting an infection.
And of course the ingredients listed here are in such small quantities that they are probably not enough to have an immediate therapeutic effect, but cumulatively their effects can be beneficial.
This is simply a great natural remedy for easing cold symptoms. It’s not a cure, but if I am going to ease cold symptoms, a hot tea toddy does this just fine.
You can also multiply the recipe ingredients by the number of servings and share with friends after dinner. Makes a nice drink for a fireside chat.
- 1½ ounces whiskey
- 1 tsp. black tea
- 5 cloves
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp. lemon juice
- 1-2 orange slices
- 1 cup water
- Bring one cup of water to boil.
- Add tea, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and honey.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add whiskey to tea cup.
- Strain boiled ingredients and pour into tea cup.
- Add lemon juice.
- Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick.
- Stir and Enjoy!
I wish you happy holidays and a 2017 full of inspiration, creativity, health and love.
This is my last blog post in 2016, I’ll be back on January 12, 2017.
See you there?