Some Like It Hot
Feb 22, 2012 12:51AM
● By Anonymous
Cure Your Ills
Back in 18th-century Scotland, malt whisky was thought to cure the common cold, thus the invention of the hot toddy. Some modern folks still latch on to this theory, perhaps only as a way to justify an evening tipple while they’re feeling under the weather.
Traditionally, the toddy contains a shot of spirits, most often whisky, along with a spoonful of sugar or honey, hot water, perhaps a lemon, and a spice garnish in the form of nutmeg or cinnamon. The English replace the water with black tea, which might be more appropriate for curing the sniffles. These days, hot toddy recipes are decidedly nontraditional. Nearly any form of liquor is used, from bourbon to gin to rum, and ingredients such as apples, ginger, and grenadine are all added for flavor.
We should note that the American Lung Association doesn’t suggest drinking alcohol when you’re ill, as it can lead to dehydration. You might feel a little better while under the influence, but perhaps it’s best to save the toddies for when you’re in recovery mode.
In the quest to create every flavor of vodka possible, a handful of liquor companies have masterminded espresso vodka. While Irish coffee has been around for ages, these vodkas can actually add a dose of caffeine to your cocktail. If you only want to add a rich coffee flavor without the jitters that too much caffeine can give, try Van Gogh’s espresso vodka, which doesn’t contain caffeine. However, the Double Espresso flavor can provide a pick-me-up, and Three Olives vodka, not to be outdone, goes even further with Triple Espresso. Just add two ounces of espresso vodka to two ounces of coffee, along with your standard level of cream and sugar, and you have a nice cup of coffee that’s definitely not appropriate for morning consumption.
While you’re sipping your hot toddy, give your kids something warm to drink as well (sans alcohol, of course). For children, a big mug of hot chocolate can be such a treat, but store-bought mixes are often bland and watery. There are ways to make it zippier, of course, such as whisking in ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract, as well as using creamy milk instead of water.
But to make the best sort of hot chocolate, the kind that kids and adults will enjoy equally, use real, high-quality chocolate. Cocoa powder alone can leave a grainy texture, but shaved chocolate melts quickly in steaming milk. Just heat up the milk and pour it over the chocolate, whisking it together. Return the mixture to the pot and bring it back to a boil for a smooth, blended consistency. Serve it in large mugs with your favorite topping, whether it’s marshmallows or whipped cream.
And, hey, if you spike the cup of cocoa with a hint of peppermint schnapps or espresso vodka, just tell people that you’re suffering from a nasty cold.