The best cough medicine you’ll ever have

Hot Toddy a la Sarah

About this time last year, I sat surrounded by tissues, with a headache pounding in my head, unable to smell, breathe very well, or think. I was so utterly defeated by the common cold that the thought of heading out into the frigid weather to pick up over-the-counter cough syrup filled me with dread.

I rifled through a home remedy book, hoping that there was a magical, three-ingredient herbal wonder I could concoct to cure my ails. From there, I learned about the Hot Toddy, which, after landing on the right combination of ingredients, proved to be the best (adult) cough medicine I’ve ever had.

You can customize this hot cocktail by choosing a tea based on its property: black tea or green tea to give you a caffeine boost, herbal teas to help with immunity, chamomile to help you sleep. The honey will coat your throat and soothe any soreness, and the bourbon (or other spirit of your choice) warms the body, clears the sinuses, and admittedly will improve your disposition.

Hot Toddy a la SarahA Hot Toddy For When You Hate Life


1 tablespoon honey (preferably local)
¼ lemon, squeezed, or just a couple of drops of bottled lemon juice
1.5 oz. whiskey, bourbon, or rum
8 oz. hot water
1 tea bag of your choosing

Suggested Variations:

This drink is not scientific. You may alter any of the above quantities to suit your taste, or you may not even bother with measuring, choosing to throw in a dash of this and a heavier pour of that.

The tea and liquor you choose to use can drastically alter the flavor of this drink. My favorite combination is whiskey and an herbal tea by Yogi Tea called Cold Season. The flavors blend magnificently, and the herbal tea has some medicinal qualities that lend themselves to the occasion nicely: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and clove are warming herbs that can help support respiratory function, and basil, peppermint and eucalyptus have invigorating properties.

For local flair, use local honey (I used Tassot Apiaries, out of Milford, NJ) and whiskey (Dad’s Hat, perhaps?). Craving something with a little more kick? Try using cinnamon infused whiskey.


Simple as can be. Add honey, lemon and liquor to a mug, followed by hot water and the tea bag. Let the tea steep for a few minutes, or leave in. Drink, savor, and smile.

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