It’s that time of the year when the cold weather is starting to take its toll and many of us are experiencing a wee bit of the sniffles. There’s nothing worse than having to get out of bed feeling this way, only to go to work for the day and then struggle to sleep again at night. The cold is the worst.
For many years in Scotland and beyond, folks have brewed the famous Hot Toddy in a bid to aid sleep, decongest and generally relieve the symptoms of the common cold. Many swear by the drink, while others have been less than convinced, attributing it to nothing more than an old wives tale. So what’s the truth behind the drink? And how do you make the perfect Hot Toddy?
Can it Really Help?
Firstly, we’ll tackle the controversial subject of whether drinking a hot toddy will actually alleviate the symptoms of a cold, or if it is indeed a myth. For this we will take a helping hand from our old pal science – something the whisky industry has become increasingly accustomed to doing in recent times.
So to start with, the whisky. Alcohol is known to alleviate pain and aid you in getting to sleep and these are both things that you could be doing with when suffering from a cold. Having said that, the sleep that you get may not necessarily be of the best quality given that it is well established that alcohol actually disrupts your snooze-time. Some sleep is better than no sleep though right?
The alcohol can also make you feel warmer, but sadly it is a rather deceiving little monkey in this regard. It will actually cause your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood to the surface of your skin and giving you a false sense of cosiness.
For true warmth, we turn to the boiling water in the Hot Toddy. This will actually warm your body (and your hands) and can also help to break down mucus and decongest your airways. When combined with the lemon juice, another key ingredient of our medicinal tipple, it can work wonders – lemon juice is also known to thin mucus and make decongestion easier for the body.
Then we have the honey. Honey has been found to increase antioxidant levels in adults after just two small doses. This aids your body in fighting off infection and inflammation.
And as if you’re not feeling better already, you also have a little ginger thrown in and its gingerol and shaogal properties are capable of swiftly relieving a scratchy throat and fighting the root causes (excuse the pun) of the common cold.
So there you have it, when thrown all together in the perfect hot toddy, it can actually help to relieve the symptoms of a nasty common cold. It is at this point that we should probably say:
We do not advise self-medicating with alcohol and you should always ask your doctor before drinking while taking any form of medication.
So, with that out the way, we’re getting close to sharing our recipe for the perfect hot toddy, but first we need to talk about something – the key ingredient for any whisky-lover.
Making a hot toddy that will help your cold isn’t too difficult at all, but making one that will help your cold while bringing some lovely flavours to your subdued palate is another thing altogether.
For this we recommend picking a bourbon matured whisky, preferably one that was bottled at cask strength. You could of course pick a sherry matured dram, but those rich, deep flavours can all too often change the hot toddy into something entirely different and that’s not what we’re going for here.
This recent Glenrothes 22 Year Old brings everything you would want, including orange zest, subtle marzipan and a light malty spice to kick some life into your palate.
Of course, if you’re one of those people that just can’t have a whisky unless it’s peated and from Islay, then go for the Port Charlotte MRC:01. This will add that smokiness to your toddy and bring a little maple syrup and creamy chocolate at the same time.
Both of these drams are great for making the perfect hot toddy, depending on your taste of course.
The Perfect Hot Toddy
2 oz water
1 piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 strip of lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
2 oz of bourbon cask matured whisky
1 small squeeze of lemon juice
2 tsp honey
Put the water in a pan and warm it.
Add the ginger, lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Warm a heatproof glass or your favourite tea mug with some hot water from your kettle.
Pour your whisky into the warm cup and add the water with spices.
Add honey and lemon juice. Test for sweetness and adjust accordingly (or even add more whisky!).
Curl up under your duvet and enjoy. In minutes you should be breathing a wee bit easier.
Enjoy and We Hope You Feel Better Soon!!!
BONUS: For the next four days only you can save 15% off all bottles in our Winter Warmup Sale! Just enter promo code: “ICEKING15” at the checkout. Click here to shop now.