A hot tea toddy is a simple natural remedy for warming up and easing cold symptoms. It’s not a cure but it will make you feel better.
The cold winter nights are here again, and all I want to do is curl up and enjoy some coziness by the fire. A nice cup of hot tea, a great book, and a whole lot of Netflix are on the agenda.
Winter is the perfect time to hibernate and experiment in the kitchen. And a hot tea toddy is the perfect drink to warm your bones when all you really want is to feel warm and well.
It’s temperatures like these that make me long for my summer beach days. When I’m not feeling my best self I’m reminded of the simple words of wisdom from one of my favorite characters…
I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh. There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”― A.A. Milne,
Gratefully, I have my family with me and a nice warm fire to sit by while I sip my new found winter brew. It’s time for that hot tea toddy.
The Best Hot Tea Toddy 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 prefer to use a nice brandy. Laird’s AppleJack makes a great choice. It’s not a straight apple brandy, but it has a 35% apple brandy base that gives it a smoother flavor than other whiskeys. It’s made from apples and originated from my home state of New Jersey in 1780.
If you like to try a variety of spirits, Flaviar is a curated whiskey club for explorers of fine whiskey.
For the tea, I recommend a strong black tea such as an English Breakfast, an Indian Assam or a nice Chinese Keemun. You want to select the type of black tea that holds up well to milk and sugar to balance out the strong whiskey flavor.
Here is my tea spin on the classic hot toddy recipe.
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 ounce whiskey
- 1 teaspoon black tea
- 5 cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-2 teaspoon honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1-2 orange slices
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 a teacup.
Strain boiled ingredients and pour into the teacup.
Add lemon juice.
Garnish with lemon slice and cinnamon stick.
Stir and enjoy!
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.
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.
I include a detailed 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.
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. 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. This hot tea toddy recipe is nice when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
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 quite nicely.
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.
Cheers and Thanks for Reading
I wish you a happy year full of inspiration, creativity, health, and love.
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