By Eileen Goltz

At some point this fall or winter you may feel a tickle in the back of your throat, a huge sneeze explode out of your face, or even a head full of toxic stuff even a mother doesn’t want to wipe up. That scratchy, precursor to what could be anything from the sniffles to a full-blown, knock-down cold is never welcome. As a good Jewish mother, of course my homemade chicken soup is my go-to medicine. However, in addition to my amazing soup I can offer not a cure but rather a few really good hot and cold beverages to make waiting for the aches and pains to pass a little more palatable.

Surprised I said hot and cold recipes for cold relief? While hot fluids are the most effective for relief, cold beverages can also offer temporary relief. Cold is what you should try if you’ve got some pain from a sore throat. The hot drinks also soothe the sore throat and helps loosen up the mucus, congestion, and stuffiness. Soup is great, but for a quick-and-easy fix, the following recipes can help you relax enough to get the rest you need.

All this being said, if you’re not utilizing any type of medication and you just want to tough it out, a hot toddy is my go to “cold cure.” It’s typically a beverage comprised of liquor (whisky, bourbon, or rum), water, orange, or lemon with honey and spices. In the book How to Drink by Victoria Moore, it describes the toddy as containing “the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.”

The following recipes (with and without booze) are all guaranteed to help you hydrate and recuperate.

Classic Hot Toddy

Servings: 1

Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) bourbon, whiskey, or rum
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon, orange, or lime juice
  • ⅓ –½ cup boiling-hot water


  1. In an 8-ounce mug combine the liquor, honey, and citrus juice.
  2. Add the hot water and mix until the honey dissolves.

Tea Toddy

Servings: 1

Note: Recipe can be doubled or tripled


  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup hot brewed black tea
  • 1 ounce rum
  • Lemon slice


  1. In an 8-ounce mug combine the honey, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  2. Add the hot tea and mix until the honey dissolves.
  3. Add the rum, mix to combine, and garnish with the lemon slice.

Cayenne Tea

Adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to your tea can help break up mucus and can clear your sinuses. I always add sugar or honey to the tea to sooth the throat.

Hot Pomegranate Cider

Servings: 4

Pomegranates are a great source for antioxidants. When you add apple cider and spices, you get a great drink that can soothe even the sorest throat.


  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 7–10 minutes.
  2. Strain out the cinnamon sticks and cloves and serve in a mug.

Citrus Chamomile Toddy

Servings: 2–3


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 chamomile tea bags
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice


  1. In a pan bring the water to a simmer.
  2. Add the tea bags, orange, and cloves. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and add the honey and lemon juice. Mix to combine and serve.

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher foods writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the CJN in Chicago,, and the OU Shabbat Shalom website, She also wrote the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim).

© Eileen Goltz


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