The Hot Toddy: The Secret to Battling Seasonal Illnesses

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Hot toddyLook, the holiday season is in full swing; you might be feeling a little run down to start, and then all the stress and potential-bug-carrying visitors pile on to open you up to any number of seasonal bugs. At this time of the year, your body is more susceptible to illness. The stress, travel, relatives, and long hours can take a toll on your body, and you might be feeling the symptoms of a little head cold or even the flu. If the sniffles hit you tonight, tomorrow, or heck, at any time this season, I have a secret that my grandfather passed on to me that I want to share with you…

It’s the Hot Toddy!

Now, a hot toddy—made from whiskey, lemon, and honey—won’t cure or prevent your cold or flu, but it will ease the symptoms. Sure, a hot tea or chicken soup might have a similar effect, but they don’t have quite the same appeal—especially over the holiday season when you owe yourself a little special down time.

The alcohol in a hot toddy can help dilate your blood vessels, making it easier for your body to deal with infection. The lemon and honey can help loosen up congestion. Remember that alcohol can also lead to dehydration, so you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of water, too, and some hot herbal tea. Having a hot toddy or two, after all, is a bit of special treat, but not the best form of treatment. Getting fluids free of additives is the best way to flush the system and break up mucus.

How to Make a Hot Toddy at Home

Making a hot toddy doesn’t require a degree in mixology and you surely don’t need to be a seasoned bartender. My grandfather showed me how to do it: all you need to do is pour two ounces of your favorite whiskey into a microwave-safe mug and add a tablespoon of honey. Pour in four ounces of hot tap water and then stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice. Pop the mug in the microwave for about a minute—so it’s piping hot but not boiling—and add a slice of lemon and a cinnamon stick if you desire. Let it sit for a minute and voila!

You can get some relief from those pesky sniffles and runny noses this holiday season with a little help from a hot toddy. Try not to drink it too close to bedtime, though, because alcohol makes it harder to get good quality sleep—and a good night’s sleep is essential in battling any illness


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Adrian Newman, B.A.

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Adrian has been working in the information publishing world since 1997. But when it comes to health information, he’s a self-admitted late bloomer. A couch potato since pre-school, Adrian was raised on TV, video games and a lifestyle that led to childhood obesity that followed him well into adulthood. But when he hit his forties, he decided enough was enough. He had a family to take care of and his days of overeating, under-exercising and inactivity were going to lead... Read Full Bio »