As Victoria Moore puts it in How To Drink: "The vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb." This steamy mixture of whisky, cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice and honey is the perfect answer to man-flu or the end-of-winter cold – and is far more palatable than those bitter over-the-counter potions.
Put 1tsp of honey and a measure of whisky in a mug or heatproof glass. Add two cloves and half a cinnamon stick then top up with just-off-the-boil water. Stir in a slice of lemon and just enough lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the honey. Drink as soon as it doesn't burn your lips.
Go easy on the cloves. Use water that is just off the boil. Putting a spoon in the glass will prevent it cracking as you pour the water in. Use a lightly flavoured honey so it doesn't make your toddy taste like cough mixture. Drink while it is still quite hot – it will be more soothing that way. Do not take at the same time as any other medicine.
Some people suggest rum as an alternative. A couple of crushed juniper berries will add an aromatic citrus hit. Try a slice of apple in the drink. It will soak up the flavours, soften in the heat, and can be eaten when you get to the end – a bit like mulled cider. Allspice berries can be included with the cloves. Brown sugar is the answer for those who don't like honey. I have heard of some who add a slice of butter to their toddy. Not sure I could swallow that, but friends swear by it to calm a sore throat.
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