The seasons are changing. The summer heat is now well and truly behind us and we are now in that lovely space where the last of the summer sun still occasionally breaks through. It is a time to hear the leaves crunch beneath your feet, to watch the colors change from green to brown and gold and purple. It’s a time of year when we appreciate every day of sunshine as we get ready for the inevitable winter weather ahead. It’s nature’s transition time and it follows a rhythm as old as the earth. We dig out the scarves and the Wellington boots and seek refuge in long country walks. Sometimes this manifests itself in the glory of warm shaft of sunlight on your face. Other days, it shows itself in your breath, visible in the colder air.
The season of mists, mellow fruitfulness…and colds
In North America it is the season of Halloween costumes, pumpkin carving and family gatherings around the Thanksgiving table.
In the UK, it’s all about long country walks through gorgeous foliage. The trees are in their ultimate glory, lighting up the countryside with a rich tapestry of colours. The lure of a gorgeous country pub with a roaring fireplace, comfy chairs and convivial company keeps the walkers motivated whatever the weather.
In Barcelona, the sun still shines, but it’s a time of transition. Some hot days, some colder days, but the sky stays blue and the locals still pile on the autumn clothes, wrapped in scarves and enjoying a welcome relief from the heat of summer.
But this seasonal uncertainty has its consequences. The frequent temperature changes, the wetter weather and the chillier days and nights mean that it is also a time when we all become subject to seasonal illnesses such as colds and flu. And we’re delighted to let you know that gin can be a great ingredient in your winter recovery plan. You might have read our recent article about the healthy properties of gin. Well, here’s more good news. Hot gin toddies are here to save your day!
Having just succumbed to my first major cold of the season, complete with stuffed up nose, headache, constant sneezing, a chesty cough and what seemed like a river flowing through my nose, I mixed myself up one of these. And the results were great.
What is a hot toddy and how does it help?
Well, one thing a hot gin toddy won’t do is cure your cold. But it can be a big help in managing your symptoms and helping you to feel better until the infection leaves your system. Tradtionally, the home made remedies are made with honey, lemon, hot water and alcohol. The customary booze for this remedy is whiskey but, as you’d expect, we think gin is a great substitute. And here’s the reason why.
The complex botanicals in gin are opened up nicely by the addition of hot water. Choose a good gin (with a flavour profile that suits your taste) and suddenly taking your medicine gets a whole lot easier. In fact, the flavour release is so effective that you don’t need to add tea (or anything else, for that matter). Drier gins may work better for this concoction and its best to add water that is just at the end of its simmer to get the best from the gin. And there’s even more good news – this cold cure tastes great and only has 120 calories!
How does a hot gin toddy work?
Well, let’s take one ingredient at a time.
- Hot water – hot water seems to have the effect of clearing congestion. But remember, not too hot. Just 45 seconds in a microwave should do the trick and release all the aromas and flavours of the botanicals within.
- Lemon juice – Vitamin C is the best thing for fighting colds and flu. Lemons are chock-full of antioxidants that have been shown to be good at fighting colds. According to studies, regular doses of vitamin C can reduce the length and strength of a cold and regular intake can stop you getting one on the first place.
- Honey – this natural treat has been playing a significant role in treating cold symptoms for hundreds of years. Not only is it packed with natural goodness, but it’s also really good at soothing sore throats, reducing coughs and helping to improve sleep quality.
- Gin – the alcoholic content in gin is a great decongestant. It helps dilate the blood vessels making it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection. Plus, if you have one of these before bedtime, it can also make you a little drowsy, helping you to get a good night’s sleep – essential to a strong recovery.
- Use a juniper forward gin if possible. It’s bold flavours bring the best out of this drink
- High strength gins work better. Navy strength gins work particularly well.
- Use hot water, not boiling water. 30-45 seconds in the microwave should brng the best out of the botanicals
Hot Gin Toddy recipe
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- ¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 oz hot water
- Garnish with cinnamon stick or clove (other garnishes are available!)
- Gather your ingredients
- Add the gin, lemon juice and honey into an Irish coffee glass, brandy snifter or mug
- Heat your water to a high simmer, ad to glass and stir to dissolve honey
- Garnish with cinnamon stick, clove or a slice of lemon
Please note: alcohol may interact negatively with other cold treatment remedies, so be careful.
Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)
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