Hot Toddy might actually help you get over colds, flu

BY EMILY MCFARLAN MILLER

It’s not just you.

The common cold, cough and flu all are going around in Chicago, according to Sickweather.

There are plenty of things you can do to fight the flu and other illnesses like these. The CDC recommends you “Take 3”: Get a flu vaccine, take preventative action like washing your hands and take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

You also can drink.

In one of those articles you clip and save for posterity, the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Taste of Home made the argument for the health benefits of the hot toddy. Its recipe called for lemon juice, honey and two teaspoons of elderberry syrup stirred into a mugful of boiling water to ward off the cold and flu.

According to the magazine:

The toddy’s hot steam and liquid help clear your head, the lemon clears mucus and gives you some vitamin C and the antiviral, antibacterial honey also soothes your throat. Elderberry syrup is a proven treatment for flu and colds: In studies, it shortens recovery time by up to four days.

Even adding alcohol to your toddy has some health benefits: It can help you sleep, so your body can recover, as well as sweat out a fever, according to Taste of Home.

Here’s my family recipe for a hot toddy, which I’ve shared before elsewhere. It also can be made without the whiskey, with a teabag soaked in your mugful of toddy water instead.

1 to 2 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 shots whiskey
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, mashed with with mortar and pestle or diced fine
2 cinnamon sticks
6 to 8 cloves
6 to 8 allspice berries
2 tablespoons honey
1 lemon, half sliced thin, half juiced

Simmer together on the stove for about 15 minutes, then strain into mugs. Makes enough for two.