Nothing warms the body more than a chai whiskey hot toddy with a delicious honey syrup infused with warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Orange juice and zest make this an extra irresistible concoction to warm you right from the inside.
This chai hot toddy can very well be enjoyed non-alcoholic by omitting the whiskey. And I promise it will still be a wonderfully cozy winter drink. Other non-alcholic winter drinks I can recommend are Nordic gløgg, orange drink with chilli, sore throat tea with ginger, peppermint mocha, calendula tea and grapefruit cider and of course hot chocolate.
What is a hot toddy?
In Norway a toddy is a hot blackcurrant drink which is super delicious, albeit non-alcoholic. I quickly understood that this is not what others associate with toddy. A hot toddy is usually made with liquor and hot water with honey, herbs and spices. In Ireland they even call a hot toddy a hot whiskey, so whiskey is a pretty common liquor used in this drink.
Speaking of Irish, this would be delicious for St. Patrick's Day if the day is a little cold (as it often is here). But if it's a little warmer, another spring cocktail would do you good, like this Lucky Leprechaun or whiskey sour.
I spent some time researching what the word toddy actually means, and it was not so easy. The most plausible I could find, which seemed to be a common explanation, is that toddy is the sweet sap from any of several tropical trees in the East Indies to make an alcoholic drink.
So it seems to me that a hot toddy needs to have alcohol in it to be called just that. Apparently, Norwegians are wrong in this matter.
What are hot toddies good for?
A hot toddy is usually drunk at night, to relieve the symptoms of a cold and a flu. However, I drink it because it is DELICIOUS as well.
Whiskey can, in moderation, widen your blood vessels. This will help with cold symptoms like congestion, by giving more movement of the mucus membranes in your sinuses, possibly flushing out infections. Whiskey can also help get you a better night's sleep as it is a pain relief. However, as I mentioned, it is only in moderation. Too much and you get a hangover. Not pleasant.
Hot beverages are in general good for a sore throat. A 2008 study concluded that a hot fruit beverage can relieve cold and flu symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, feeling cold and tired, and a sore throat. So oomph up the citrus in this drink to make it even better for your cold.
Even though alcohol can relieve some of the symptoms, you should not mix alcohol with medicine. If you want a non-alcoholic drink to relieve the symptoms, I can highly recommend this caffeine free sore throat tea with ginger and honey.
Honey is also a common ingredient in hot toddies. Honey can help fighting infections and relieve pain, and has a natural antibacterial function. It's good for the digestion and good for a sore throat and to fight coughing. Honey also definitely helps to make anything taste better, right?
I also add ginger which is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It is also good to fight nausea. I always add ginger to my sore throat concoctions.
Black tea is good for flavor (especially chai!), it is rich in antioxidants, and is in general good for your health as it can lower blood pressure, the bad cholesterol, boosting heart and gut health.
More whiskey drinks
After a trip to Belarus (yes, I like travelling to uncommon locations!), I found my love for whiskey. I thought whiskey was a beverage best suited for grumpy old men, but boy was I wrong. Two young girls, travelling to an unknown country, visiting a shady rock bar, trying whiskey sours for the first time. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but the sweet and sour with the whiskey was absolutely divine. That is why a whiskey sour is still one of my favorite drinks.
A whiskey sour on ginger steroids is The Penicillin Cocktail. Which is actually even better, although it can be a pain to make so much ginger juice (worth it!). It is so PUNCHY in flavor, oh my lord it's amazing.
A third whiskey cocktail I love, is a classic Irish coffee. Just coffee, brown sugar, whiskey and whipped cream. Comforting and delicious. And it's served hot, so maybe it can count as a sore throat remedy as well? A girl can dream.
If these weren't enough, I've also compiled a list of 11 whiskey cocktails, most of them are based on fresh flavors (although I did sneak in the Irish coffee because I couldn't resist). If you didn't necessarily come for the whiskey, but the cozy hot drink, I can recommend these 22 hot drinks.
How to make Chai Whiskey Hot Toddy
First we need to make the spiced orange honey syrup. It's simply dumping all the ingredients (apart from the vanilla extract) into a saucepan, let it boil for five minutes. Then stir in vanilla extract and let it cool. Instead of the whole spices and fresh ginger, you can also use my homemade masala chai spice mix, about 2 tsp.
The longer you let it cool, the more the flavors will infuse. I let mine sit for 6 hours! Then strain it into a jar which can be closed tightly with a lid. Keeps in the fridge for 1 month, although it won't as it's only enough for 8 cocktails, so it will last you, what, a week, 3 days?
For the cocktail, brew chai tea (or any black tea you want), and let it steep for about 4-5 minutes before removing the tea bag. If you don't like tea, you can just use warm water - no biggie. After that, stir in the rest of the ingredients and taste and adjust the seasonings as you like.
In addition, you can garnish the cocktail to make it extra special. For instance with a swirled clementine peel, half a slice of an orange, fresh rosemary sprigs, a cinnamon stick and star anise. However, traditionally, the garnish is half a slice of a lemon, studded with whole cloves, so you could also try that. Similarly, you could go for nothing, if that's more your jam! Snuggle up and enjoy.
Did you like this recipe? Here's more hot drinks I think you will like:
- Hot orange drink with chilli and lime
- Rich and decadent hot chocolate
- Scandinavian mulled wine
- Cozy peppermint mocha
- Eggnog white Russian (serve it both hot and cold)
- Zesty orange cinnamon hot chocolate
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