We're not doctors, and we don't play them on TV either, but we do know one thing: Cocktails have a long history as legit medicine for colds. No, seriously. But don't take it from us: Actual doctors agree that some boozy drinks can at least relieve your cold symptoms and make you feel better faster.
As Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Medical Center's chair of preventive medicine, told ABC, alcohol "would not have an effect on the virus itself, but its effect on the body can possibly give you some modest symptom relief." Why? "The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection," he explained.
The cocktail that gets cited most often as your best cold-relief friend is the hot toddy, made with whiskey, lemon and honey, which all have reps as cold-symptom-fighting ingredients. The steam from the hot cup also helps you feel better, Schaffner adds. Want to make one at home? Just put an ounce of bourbon in a mug, mix in a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of honey, and top off with a quarter-cup of boiling water. Rinse, repeat (but don't repeat too often: One or two of these is plenty, and you won't do your cold any favors by dousing it in too much liquor.)
VinePair has more ideas for how to make cocktails made with ingredients known for their symptom-busting properties: from the now-ubiquitous turmeric (which gets its healing properties from the curcumin compound) to ginger (an immune booster and fever-reducer) to garlic (antiviral and antiobiotic powers) and orange juice (vitamin C, but you knew that).
For a drink that combines turmeric and ginger better than an other we can think of, make Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi's delicious Ginger-Turmeric Margarita, featured this week on Food Republic (recipe here).
And let's not forget one of the most incredible ginger-centric classic cocktails, the Moscow Mule. Whip up this version, sit back, binge-watch a few episodes or ten of your new favorite show, and say bye to the cold-weather blues:
Frozen Moscow Mule recipe from Provision No. 14, Washington, D.C.
5 oz vodka
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger
4 oz ginger beer (preferably Fever Tree or Fentimans)
2 oz lime juice
2 oz simple syrup
Add all ingredients except the candied ginger in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Continue adding ice until desired consistency is reached. Serve in a copper mug and garnish with candied ginger.
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