'Tis the season- cold and flu season that is! I came across this feature on BonAppetit.com about cocktails that double as cold remedies! Sounds good to me...
However, that got me thinking that perhaps before I tell you all to brew up a kettle of hot toddies maybe I should check out the actual science behind this... common sense says to think twice before mixing cough syrup and antihistamines with booze. Amirite, Beiber?
Making The Case For the Boozy Cold Remedy
Theory #1: When you feel a cold coming on, drinking a bunch of alcohol kills the virus.
Some people swear they take a shot of whiskey or tequila and wake up the next day totally cured! Turns out that science, however, doesn't really support this. Alcohol is an antiseptic- however, once a virus hits your bloodstream, you would have to have SO much alcohol in your system to kill it- like 60-80%- that this theory would be a no-go: even .5% blood alcohol volume can cause death by alcohol poisoning. So there you go. However, I would add that if a little whiskey or rum helps you sleep-so much the better for your body to start healing itself!
Theory #2: Booze soothes a sore throat.
I would subscribe to this--- when my throat is sore, a hot toddy with some whiskey and honey really does help my throat feel better! But, this is really just due to the fact that even low-level intoxication dulls your pain receptors. In short- while alcohol might help ease your pain, it doesn't go far in terms of actually healing you.
Theory #3: Prevention
I came across an intriguing survey that uncovered a pretty surprising statistic: people who drank 14 glasses of wine or more per week were 60% less likely to get sick than non-drinkers-- even more so for drinkers of red wine! That's because red wine is rich in flavonoids: antioxidants with strong antiviral properties, specifically against rhinoviruses— the major cause of the common cold!
So... this cold season, just remember: 2 glasses of red a day keeps the doctor away. And while cocktails may not technically cure what ails you, they can soothe a little bit of your discomfort if you do get hit with something.
Check out these remedy recipes- and here's to your health!
'Winter's Truce' via Bon Appetit
Fresh ginger, honey, echinacea, and a little grappa.
Flor de Puebla via Bon Appetit
Chiles. green tea, honey and tequila? Mas Picante, por favor!
Bourbon Hot Toddy via The Kitchn
The Classic: bourbon, honey, lemon and clove. I feel better already!