A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Without fail, every winter I seem to come down with a horrific sinus infection. Slowly I’ve come to terms with this and I've grown to accept the inevitable. I’ve heard

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Without fail, every winter I seem to come down with a horrific sinus infection. Slowly I’ve come to terms with this and I've grown to accept the inevitable. I’ve heard

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Without fail, every winter I seem to come down with a horrific sinus infection. Slowly I’ve come to terms with this and I've grown to accept the inevitable. I’ve heard

Carolina Hot Toddy

Without fail, every winter I seem to come down with a horrific sinus infection. Slowly I’ve come to terms with this and I’ve grown to accept the inevitable. I’ve heard my mama in years past speak of my great-grandmother’s (we called her “Grandmammy”) “Hot Toddies,” which she used to sip on when she was sick with a cold. When the sinus infection hit last year, I decided to do some research on this “natural cold remedy” that so many North Carolinians swear by.

I learned that the Hot Toddy is believed to have originated in Scotland in the 1700s. There are many theories as to its origin and it still remains an overall mystery. There is no one definitive recipe for the Hot Toddy and it can be prepared several different ways. I’m sure if you ask anyone how they make it, you’ll get a different response every time. Some people use hot water and others use herbal tea or cider. I choose to make my Hot Toddy with herbal tea for its aroma and the herbal healing properties. The liquor used can be bourbon, whiskey or rum. I like to use a Carolina-based whiskey such as Topo or Defiant, staying true to my Carolinian roots.

I can understand why so many old-timers swear by the Hot Toddy’s medicinal properties. I don’t know if it was the whiskey, but this warm, spicy cocktail seemed to ease the aches and chills.


Yield: 2 cups.

1 ¾ cups boiling water
¼ cup whiskey
Juice from ½ lemon (approximately 1/8 cup)
2 herbal tea bags
¼ cup honey
Optional: Cinnamon sticks & lemon wedges studded with cloves for garnish

Place tea bags in boiling water. Remove from heat and cover to steep for approximately 10 minutes.

Pour honey in bottom of a large mug. Pour hot tea over honey and stir to combine. Add lemon juice and liquor.

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This story was published on Jan 31, 2014

Amy Brinkley

Brinkley lives in coastal North Carolina, and blogs about all things food. She is regular contributor on the Our State website, Parade Magazine’s CommunityTable.com, and SheKnows.com.