Before I wax poetic about this delicious Spiced Chamomile Ginger Hot Toddy drink (seriously it’s so good I don’t consider it a “sick” drink anymore), I have a few things to say.
Sadly, I will only be posting on Tuesdays now. For those of you who have read the About page or My UC Story, you know I am a graduate student laboring on my thesis. Since the end of September I haven’t worked on it at all because I was focusing on my health and recovering from my really bad flare. Although this blog is a lot of work, it has helped me stay positive through my healing process and in no way am I giving it up.
However, even though I’m still going through a lot of changes health-wise, it is time for me to start tackling my thesis again. Posting two-times a week takes too much of my time and blogging ends up being an excuse for not getting anything done on my thesis.
I hope some positive changes will come of this though. I have not had a chance to focus on the format of my blog and there are things I know I can work on to make it better. I also have not had time to practice my photography, and let’s face it, that is the real draw to any blog about food. I am hoping that although the quantity of material is going down, the quality of it will eventually rise.
Okay moving on. This Spiced Chamomile Ginger Hot Toddy is the combination of years of different home-remedy advice from friends, the Internet, and my own experience. The foundation of this recipe is cinnamon tea.
Why do you ask? Well, one day in college I felt a cold coming on. My friend and roommate immediately started brewing a couple of cinnamon sticks for 20 minutes. She told me that her mother swore by a batch of cinnamon tea and shot of tequila anytime someone was feeling the beginnings of a cold. I was game to try it, so I took my dose of medicine and went to bed. The next day I woke up feeling great with no sign of a cold. From then on, cinnamon tea brewed from cinnamon sticks became the base of any kind of “get well” drink. I added the cloves because I felt they spiced it up some.
The first step is to add 2 cups of water to a small saucepan along with one cinnamon stick and three cloves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. The water will be a pretty golden brown color.
Take out the cinnamon stick and cloves. Now it’s time to add the tea, the second most important part of the drink. For a long time I chose to use lemon or Lipton Tea. But as I struggled with my ulcerative colitis, I began to learn more about the medicinal properties of teas and spices. Eventually I settled on the combination of chamomile and ginger tea.
Chamomile is a soothing tea that calms the mind and makes it easier to fall asleep. It relieves bloating and digestion but it is considered to be slightly diuretic, so some caution is needed (especially for people with ulcerative colitis). I know when I can use it and not. I have also noticed that when combined with all the other ingredients, the soothing properties are emphasized and I don’t experience the diuretic symptoms.
Ginger tea is an energizer and what I like best about it is that it warms me up from the inside out. It also can reduce nausea and it really helps me with the arthritic pain I suffer from while in a flare. With tea, it is very important to use a brand you trust. Many put in “flavorings” to enhance their teas, meaning ingredients that are harmful to you could be in them. I use Traditional Medicinals.
Add the tea bags to the saucepan and cover it with the lid. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
The whisky is the third most important item in a hot toddy because it works with all the other ingredients to relax and knock you out. But what kind of whisky you use can also really effect the taste of your drink. My favorite is Pendleton Whisky because all the ingredients in this Spiced Chamomile Ginger Hot Toddy really bring out the vanilla flavors. I sadly did not have any in my liquor cabinet so I used Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask Whisky. It’s not pictured because I only had enough to make the drink, so the pretty glow of the light hitting the whisky was not showing up in pictures. I like Wild Turkey as well, but it is not my first choice. Experiment. It amazes me how much different whiskies can change the flavor profile of the final product.
Take the tea bags out. Turn the heat back onto low and add 1/4 cup whisky, 1/4 cup honey, and the juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons). I turn on the burner again mostly to help dissolve the honey completely and to re-heat the drink again. Once the honey is dissolved and the desired temperature is reached, take the saucepan off the heat and pour into mugs to serve. This recipe creates 1 large serving or 2 smaller ones.
I really love this drink and don’t consider it to be only a “sick” beverage. It has a festive kind of taste to it, so it can be served as a cocktail to guests during the fall and winter holidays. Enjoy!
Spiced Chamomile Ginger Hot Toddy
- 2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves whole
- 1 chamomile tea bag
- 1 ginger tea bag
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup whisky
- tablespoons juice from 1/2 a lemon about 2
Pour two cups of water into a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and three whole cloves and turn heat on medium-high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn heat off. Take out the cinnamon stick and cloves and place the ginger and chamomile tea bags in the saucepan. Let steep for 10 minutes with the lid on.
Take tea bags out. Add honey, whisky, and lemon juice. Turn heat on medium and stir together until honey is completely dissolved and the drink is the temperature that you want.
Pour into a mug for one large serving or into two mugs for a smaller serving size.
1/4 cup honey makes the best tasting hot toddy. Even people who don't like hard liquor love this drink. However, I myself sometimes feel like there is too much honey. I don't mind the taste of whisky so I change the amount all the time based on what I'm in the mood for. If I have not had anything sweet all day then I reward myself with the full 1/4 cup. Otherwise, I reduce it, letting the whisky taste be more prevalent.