Cocktail Home Remedies to Cure What Ails You

By Seattle Mag January 18, 2013


If you listen to enough old wives tales, you’ll realize quick enough that the cocktails and drinks we consider as accompaniments to fun times also double as cures for a whole heap of ailments. With this in mind – and with me admitting right from the start that no doctors have vetted these “cures” – here are five imbibeable home remedies.

For a Cold
The Hot Toddy
Perhaps the most recognized cure-all, the basic hot toddy has for many years been prescribed by bartenders for folks with a cold or various cold symptoms. The toddy has may variations, but I think this basic version from Good Spirits does the trick: Using a small saucepan (or the microwave) heat 2-1/2 ounces water until almost boiling. Add 1-1/2 ounces brandy to an Old Fashioned glass (if it’s been pre-warmed and has thick walls) or a mug. Add 1/2 ounce simple syrup and stir once. Pour the hot water over the brandy syrup mixture. Stir once more. Garnish with a lemon twist if needed.

For a Fever
Hot Spiced Scotch
I know several good pharmacists, and they all swear by the beneficial powers of Scotch, especially if you’re feeling feverish. While straight Scotch is dandy, and something I certainly wouldn’t turn down, the addition here of allspice, cloves, and nutmeg – all healthy spices – ups the spirit’s curative powers. This recipe’s from Dark Spirits: Add 1/2 ounce simple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves to a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well. Add 2 ounces Scotch to the shaker or glass. Swirl the contents together, and then strain into a goblet that’s been preheated with warm water. Heat 3-1/2 ounces water in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Pour the hot water into the goblet. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter and stir a couple times. Top with1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg and a lemon twist.

For an Overfull Stomach
The Stomach Reviver
A bursting tummy can strike at any time. And while a splash of bitters in soda, or straight Fernet-Branca, might be of aid here, I believe this classic doubling up of the two in a recipe from Dark Spirits is the more potent remedy: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1-1/2 ounce brandy, 1 ounce Kümmel, 1/2 ounce Fernet Branca, and 2 dashes Peychaud bitters, and shake. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass.

For a Touch of Sunstroke
The Mint Cooler
Try this cooler when you’ve overcompensated on sun exposure during a winterbird getaway or in summer. The recipe’s from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz: Fill a highball glass three-quarters with ice cubes. Add 2 ounces Scotch and 1/2 ounce white crème de menthe. Stir briefly. Fill the glass with chilled club soda. Stir again.

For a Hangover
The Mimosa
All right, calm down. I know many think a Bloody Mary is best for the day after a big revelry, but I believe the Mimosa does the trick in a less labor-intensive manner. The bubbles keep the stomach from turning to rock and the vitamin C provides a necessary energy infusion, without the harshness of tomato juice. This is the simple classic recipe, as reprinted in Champagne Cocktails: Pour 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice into a flute glass. Fill the glass with chilled Champagne or sparkling wine. Stir briefly. Garnish with an orange slice.


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