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.
One obvious note before you seek sweet healing through spirits: consuming more than a small to moderate amount of alcohol while you’re sick will make things worse, so be smart about what you consume in your illness.
4 Alcohol Remedies for Colds
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.
Tea Time: Classic Cold-Buster With a Twist
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 rum tea.
- 1.5 ounces rum
- 1 bag berry-flavored herbal tea
- 6 ounces boiling water
- .5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 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.
Bon Aperitif: Regain Your Appetite
Aperitifs aren’t just for the fancy among us; according to a study, 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, sweet or dry 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.
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 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 due to the fine Spanish folks who conducted the study.
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.