If it's not too personal a question....
Have you ever had a hot toddy?
Until last weekend I was a hot toddy virgin.
Don't get too cozy thinking of me that way. For my December blog I'm planning Confessions of a Dish Whore. So depending on the subject, it can go either way with me. You just never know.
It started last Friday when I began feeling kind of puny. I've been puny a lot this fall. To be honest, I've been off my game for about three weeks, but I've been resisting getting sick.
I've been too busy to get sick, and dangit, I just don't have time. So I mentioned to a friend in an email that I was feeling rotten and thinking of taking some meds and going to bed. Now I'll tell you that I don't like taking any kind of chemical, but when it comes to sinus drainage (ew! ) and coughing, my motto is Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals. I'll do anything to be able to sleep, and thus to keep going.
So I mentioned this to my friend and she said, "Ohhhhh....you need a hot bath and a nice hot toddy and you'll sleep like a baby!"
This was a new idea for me because although I've heard of hot toddies all my life, I'd never had one or made one. I've been a bartender. I can mix a mean Irish Coffee, and I know how to pour a proper Cognac. But I'm not a liquor drinker. I like wine, but liquor? WAY too strong for these tastebuds.
It just sounds hoity toity, don't you think? Like something I remember reading about for the first time in The Great Gatsby, which is plenty enough reason to dislike it without going one bit further. Makes me think of something a little eccentric. Perhaps a term a great-great aunt would use as an excuse to get tipsy while pretending she really doesn't drink.
You know the eccentric aunt. The one with 39 cats. All in the house. The one with giant flower-shaped clip-on pearl earrings and a tuft of off-blue, teased hair, who gossips with her cronies once a week under the dryers at the Curl Up & Dye, and keeps all her money in the mattress and wears rose water and collects twist ties and bits of string, and is secretly having a torrid affair with the minister from the Fourth Presbyterian church across town. The one who titters, "Here you go, dearie. Have a nice little hot toddy," then innocently scoops the rat poison back underneath the counter when she thinks you're not looking.
I did not want to be that aunt.
So last weekend I was desperate. Despite my misgivings, I googled "hot toddy."
Apparantly I'm the only one opposed to the sound of hot toddy, because I found about a gazillion recipes. Pages of them. Most of them looked something like this.
The one ingredient common to all the recipes was.....liquor. Not the low-alcohol wine I'm used to. Liquor. Bourbon or Scotch or brandy or spiced rum.
I went digging through the cabinets. The only liquor I had was some disgusting cheap brandy I'd bought for something long ago, used half a cup of, and stuck back to rot. And I had a small bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur. The bottle had never even been opened.
I poured in one shot of the 70-proof liqueur. Tea did not sound like a good idea late at night, so I filled the cup with hot water, put in a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, a squeeze of lemon, and a spoon of raw sugar.
It still took a little getting used to for this wine girl, but can I just say I was....well....pleased....quite happy in fact..... with this form of medicine? Oh, yeah. SO much better than Nyquil.
My friend was right. I slept like a baby. And I woke up the next day with nary a sign of a drug hangover.
My husband grew up in a house where they made their own cough medicine out of cheap whiskey, honey and lemon juice. He said a spoon of it worked as well as any cough syrup he's ever used. I remember my grandfather taking a spoonful of whiskey when he had a sore throat, but I also remember the rest of the family raising eyebrows, and then frowning at him, as though God did not smile upon those who got their medicine from the liquor store--or in our Buckle-of-the-Bible-Belt dry county, the bootlegger.
My family got its alcohol from the local drugstore. Complete with God's stamp of approval.
I suppose I will have to fall back on Nyquil or Theraflu at some point, but for the moment, I'm quite content.
So content that I stopped at the store on the way home tonight and picked up another bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur. If I'm going to be sick, I figure I might as well enjoy the heck out of it.
The kettle is on the stove. I think it's about time for another dose.
Have you ever had a hot toddy?
Do you drink them when you're feeling under the weather, or do you like them for a hot drink on a cold winter night?
A treat on a holiday weekend maybe?
Does anyone you know drink hot liquor drinks? Irish coffee, perhaps?
Did your family make cough syrup themselves?
Or did your family do what mine did, and buy their alcohol from the drugstore?
Any hot toddy recipes out there?