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4 min read

Healing Powers: 4 Alcohol Remedies for Colds

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You’ve probably tried tea, essential oils, medication, sleep, and chicken soup—but have you tried alcohol remedies for colds?

It may sound like the liquor lobby’s covert marketing pitch, but if you take a second to consider it, you might find more than you expect from the power of alcohol for not just cooking, mixing, and drinking, but also remedying a cold. As we transition into chilly weather and the coughs and sniffles that often accompany it, be prepared with knowledge—and alcohol—to combat sickness.

Before we dive into a few recipes and tips that may help, a few disclaimers:

  • Obviously, it’s all about moderation. We are not suggesting that you treat this as a green light to go out, party, and drink a bunch. Hangovers are no fun in general and drinking too much can even extend your illness, so be smart about what you consume.
  • As always, use caution when mixing alcohol with medications. Cold medicines in particular often contain acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), which metabolizes through your liver, and so does alcohol. During this process, a toxic chemical forms that the liver normally neutralizes, but if you take too much Tylenol, drink too much alcohol, or excessively combine the two, the liver can't properly process it all.
  • Listen to your body and follow medical advice above all else!

5 Alcohol Remedies for Colds

 

1. Hot Toddy: It’s Popular for a Reason...Right?

Silly name, common concoction, simple ingredients. For your cold, you already know you’ll need lemon and honey. Those have antibacterial properties to address the bacteria your body is fighting. Bolster your system by mixing them:

  • 1 ounce whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • lemon juice of 3 wedges
  • 10 cloves
  • 8 ounces water

Pour whiskey and honey into a mug, add lemon juice and then water. Stir until mixed, then add clove-filled lemon wedge like a garnish. Don’t like cloves? Switch it out for a chopped-up 1-inch section of fresh ginger root. It’ll have a zing, but it’ll help that body of yours.

2. Tea Time: Classic Cold-Buster With a Twist

Brandy, with its warming properties, is often considered a traditional remedy for cold symptoms. When consumed in moderation, brandy can help relax the muscles, providing relief from the aches and pains associated with a cold. Yes, you should drink a lot of water. And with some of that water, tea has beneficial properties for a soothing climb back to health. Build a berry-flavored brandy tea.

  • 1.5 ounces brandy
  • 1 bag berry-flavored herbal tea\
  • 6 ounces boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon honey

Brew the tea in a mug of water, remove the tea bag, and add the rum, lemon juice, and honey. Stir until well mixed, then add a lemon wedge or peel as a garnish.

3. Wine: Cabernet vs. Cold

Not all alcohol remedies for colds have to be complicated. One Spanish study found that the simple intake of beer and spirits was not related to the occurrence of the common cold. However, “Findings suggest that wine intake, especially red wine, may have a protective effect against common cold.” Why’s that? Probably something about antioxidants, but you’d have to read the full study to get the gist.

Go ahead, get cozy on the couch with your red Tempranillo to give proper thanks to the fine Spanish folks who conducted the study.

4. Peppermint: The Breath of Fresh Air

The menthol in peppermint has decongestant properties, so mixing Peppermint Schnapps into a steaming hot beverage can potentially help clear nasal passages, ease breathing difficulties, and even soothe a sore throat.

5. Bon Aperitif: Regain Your Appetite 

Aperitifs aren’t just for the fancy folks among us; according to a Swedish study surrounding plant medicine, some alcoholic drinks do stimulate appetite and signal to the body that it’s time to eat. Usually, the aperitif territory belongs to bitters, dry champagne, vermouths, and gin—why so many of those classic Italian cocktails are served before dinner. Keep it simple: pour a one-ounce serving of amaro or vermouth over an ice cube or nothing at all, and sip from the comfort of your armchair and blanket.

Remember to partake only in cautious moderation; too much alcohol as aperitifs will have the opposite effect and diminish your appetite. Easy does it, champ.

Here’s hoping you won’t have to use these alcohol remedies for colds this season. But at least if you do get sick, you’re ready to ease your way back to recovery.

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