The Hot Toddy, that boozy winter cure-all, has a tenuous relationship with professional medicine—not that that’s stopped us from whipping one up at the first sniffle. While your personal doctor probably won’t write you a prescription for a cocktail, there are a few real medical benefits to the Hot Toddy’s primary ingredients—liquor, lemon, tea, honey and spices. Let’s break it down.
Although too much booze can impair your immune system, a nip can help you recover. Like nightcaps of all varieties, a warm Hot Toddy at the end of a long day of sneezing will help you fall asleep, and a good night’s rest is definitely a doctor-approved cold treatment. According to Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (by way of ABC News), alcohol also dilates your blood vessels, which in turn causes you to produce more bacteria-fighting mucus.