How about a sick day cocktail? This ginger mint whiskey hot toddy with licorice root is the perfect wintertime warmer for when you’re feeling a little under the weather. It’s soothing and sweet, equally warming and refreshing, and has all the good medicine of a hot cup of immune-boosting herbal tea. Plus, there’s booze!
(And if you’re not into the booze, this tea is equally delicious without it.)
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What is a Hot Toddy?
Recipes vary (and even its origins are disputed), but at its core, a hot toddy is nothing more than hot water with honey, lemon, liquor (usually a dark liquor like whisky, bourbon, brandy, or rum), and spices like cloves, ginger, and cinnamon.
Traditionally, a hot toddy was often enjoyed before bed, as a way to wind down from the day. And somewhere along the way, it became a cure for the common cold.
And today, the hot toddy is still considered a suitable companion to keep us healthy and warm through cold and flu season.
The Medicine in a Whiskey Hot Toddy
Back in the day, it seems alcohol, often infused with all kinds of botanicals, was the cure for everything. So it’s no surprise that the hot toddy also became a cure-all.
A warm beverage is always comforting in the colder months of the year, and even more so when you’re feeling under the weather.
And believe it or not, the booze can help! Whisky is, in fact, a natural decongestant and it’s no secret that alcohol can be very effective in dulling pain.
Then, when you add some nutritive, anti-microbial, and immune-boosting herbs and spices to this concoction, there’s nothing better to help you forget that you don’t feel well.
I can say one thing for certain: I’ll take a hot toddy any day over a conventional cold and cough syrup.
The base of this hot toddy is a tea of ginger, mint, and licorice root tea, all three of which are amazing medicinals.
The Medicinal Uses of Mint
Medicinally, mint is a digestion superstar. Its carminative properties help us to digest our foods more easily and to better absorb nutrients from the foods we eat.
Plus, mint is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, making it a great choice for immune support.
The Medicinal Uses of Ginger
Herbalist Kami McBride calls ginger the truly universal medicine. She’s not wrong.
Like mint, ginger is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory antimicrobial as well. Its spicy and warming nature also makes it an effective circulatory stimulant, perfect for helping to move and clear things out when you’re all stuffed up and laid out.
The Medicinal Uses of Licorice Root
Licorice is a sweet and nutritious member of the pea family. The root is most known for its soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, stomach, and intestines.
It’s a taste that not everyone enjoys, but in this ginger mint hot toddy, its presence is subtle and such a nice complement.
GINGER MINT HOT TODDY WITH LICORICE ROOT
This hot toddy is an extra herbal take on the traditional cold and flu cure-all. While it’s extra nice as a sick day cocktail, it’s also a general winter warmer that’s pretty darn pleasant on a chilly eve. Enjoy this delicious beverage snuggled up on the couch with a good book, sitting around the fire with friends and family, and to help keep you warm and healthy through the winter season.
Makes 2 cocktails.
- 2 teaspoons dried mint, or 2 mint tea bags (any mint will do)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 3/4 teaspoon dried licorice root (cut and sifted), or 1 licorice root tea bag
- 2 cups hot water
- 3-4 oz. whiskey liquor (or other dark liquor like bourbon, brandy, or dark rum)
- squeeze of fresh lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons honey, or to taste (or another sweetener of choice)
- Optional garnish: slice of lemon & sprig of fresh mint
- First, make a tea with the mint, ginger, and licorice root. To do so, add the ginger, mint, and licorice root to a small sauce pan or a 2 cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Then pour in 2 cups hot water. Cover and let sit for 5-7 minutes. (A small plate usually works well to cover a measuring cup.)
- After tea has steeped for 5-7 minutes, use a strainer placed over a mug to strain the tea evenly into 2 mugs.
- To each mug, add 1 1/2-2 oz liquor of choice (depending on how strong you’d like it).
- Then stir in the honey, tasting for your preferred sweetness. (The licorice root already adds quite a bit of sweetness. It may be a good idea to taste before you even add any honey.)
- Finish off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. And if feelin’ fancy, garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.
- Sit back, sip, and enjoy this warming, immune-boosting beverage.
I hope this warming herbal cocktail helps to keep you cozy and healthy through the cold months of the year.
(Did I ever tell you about the one time hot toddies saved my life? You can read all about it here. True story.)
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DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.