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Winter Citrus Hot Toddy

Posted on by Eric Burke

My wife has been sick as a dog the past few weeks. At first, she was sick just like any other time, tired, headache, fever, etc. But then, after healing up for a bit, she felt great aside from a sore throat and nagging cough. I tried getting her to go to the doctor for most of a week, but she insisted that she was fine. Finally, after consulting people on the internet and asking for advice on if I was crazy or not, she relented and went to Urgent Care.

Strep. (I'm holding off on the "I Told You So's" until she feels better, or at least until she isn't contagious.)

Now, my wife is the person who asked her oncologist how soon after chemo she could have a whiskey, so you better believe that right after the strep diagnosis came back, she asked the same question. The doc told her that was fine. It wouldn't affect anything if she had whiskey. 

Now while she had been refusing a doctor's care, she was more than happy to accept an old-timey sort of cure for a sore throat. A Hot Toddy. Warmth and honey for the throat and bourbon for the spirit. After a bit of trial and error while waiting for her to go to the doctor, I finally hit upon what I think was the best recipe of the week, and now I'm going to share it with you. 

Winter Citrus Hot Toddy

  • 1.5 Ounce of Bourbon (I used Wild Turkey 101)
  • 1 Ounce of Fresh Mandarin Juice (Cuties, Halos, whatever brand your local grocer carries is fine, you'll probably need the juice of 2-3 fruits)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Honey
  • 6 shakes of Homemade Orange Bitters
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup of Boiling Water

I mix everything else together before adding the water so that it stays nice and hot. 

I originally tried this without the grapefruit juice, and it was way too sweet. Lots of honey and a sweet juice will do that sometimes. After futzing with all the variables for a bit, I decided that everything was fine, it just needed some more complexity. The addition of grapefruit was just the thing to make this something you didn't need to be sick to enjoy.

UPDATE: Because I run out of fruits, sometimes I need to experiment. I only have limes in the house right now and though bourbon and lime aren't the best of friends, rum and limes get along quite nicely. Tonight I found that if you do white rum in the measure above, use lime juice for all of the citrus juice and use 2-3 shakes angostura bitters you get a pleasant daquiri sort of hot toddy. And it is really quite tasty. The point is that this is a pretty flexible recipe and please experiment with it. Booze, citrus, honey and hot water are the necessary elements. Like a sour, just mix and match them until you get something tasty.


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