If you’ve ever been sick and weak, and needing a life-ward turn that does not involve plain water or food, you may have asked yourself what, what?? can I turn to in this moment?
If in this time of grievous illness and want, you’ve considered a cold drink and shuddered; and considered coffee and bristled,
If, wallowing in the misery of infection, you have wondered what magical elixir there might be to soothe your screaming throat, calm your aching head, and make you forget the stabbing happening to your poor innocent ears,
Then you, my friend, need a hot toddy.
Every once in a great while, we encounter insight so superlative and shattering that it is a wonder which is the greater brilliance: the idea itself, or the thinking of it. Newton’s Principia, the principle of multiple infinity, lemon meringue, and (bless it!) distillation come to mind.
What great noble and person (a woman, I do not doubt) thought to add the miracle of distillation to tea, lemon, and honey… we never will know the name. But, I will pay homage to this fine discovery here, and try my best to convince you that should you find yourself under the weather, in pain, sore, or just plain ill, this is where you want to turn.
Hot Toddy (basic)
a cup of hot water (hot, but not boiling)
a sachet of tea (herbal or black)
one or two teaspoons of honey
a wedge of lemon, and
a generous ounce of bourbon (more depending on your needs or whims)
** feel free to add whatever complements your tea – lemon, oranges, clove, and ginger, and cinnamon are most popular **
And you’re good to go. There’s a bit of science to it. I’ll keep it brief, but you’ll need to know. It’s likely you’re dehydrated, sick as you are, and that you have fewer alcohol-absorbing carbs floating around your body than usual. Obviously, you should do your best to stay hydrated, but there’s something about being sick that makes this goal impossible to fully achieve.
Anyway, when you drink this ounce (or two… or more) of whiskey, it will be absorbed into your bloodstream and cells faster than is typical. Blissfully, the rate of absorption is almost alarming.
This means that your pain, your suffering, your headache, and your annoyance will fade as quickly as possible. As in, within three minutes. In my most recent infection, I was feeling relief in one minute- no, I am SO not exaggerating.
Whether your goal is to sleep, to feel mellow for the first time in a while, or just to sit down instead of laying, have one of these, and you’ll be well on your way. You will want another. I recommend waiting at least 10-15 minutes before moving on to your second, because you’re going to feel the effects of the first one much longer than you would have thought possible, and you’re really going to want to get in some food and water.
As a practical matter, it is debatable whether or not you will be healed. The sages at VinePair seem to think so and discuss it in this article. I agree with them, but should your cure not come as soon as you expected it, the point of note is that you, my friend won’t care.
And this is where the real magic resides: when you’re sick and miserable, everyone thinks, “How can I make this go away?”
The Hot Toddy holds the answer and it’s ready to whack you upside the head with the Mellow stick.
Sip. Enjoy. Breathe. Feel the relief.
And when you’re all better, let me know how you liked it.