The Hot Toddy has long been touted by grandmothers and your college roommates as a cure for those pesky colds. But is there any truth to this claim or is it just wishful thinking? It turns out your tipsy tipster was on to something. A few things are necessary to kicking a cold: sleep, decongestant, and something to fight infection. A Hot Toddy contains all three and as a bonus, it tastes much better than cough syrup.

When we get a cold, it’s normal to reach for a bottle of Nyquil to ease our stuffy noses and put us to sleep. Enter: bourbon. It turns out that whiskey acts a decongestant by dilating blood vessels. This helps your mucus membranes deal with infection. Plus, the alcohol also helps fight against microorganisms.

When combined with tea, lemon and honey, this is just what the doctor ordered to help clear up cold symptoms. The soothing steam from the tea and the alcohol in the whiskey will send you gently off to sleep. Since booze is the active ingredient, this cure is best consumed in small doses. Too much alcohol will rob you of a good night’s sleep–and no one wants to suffer a cold AND a hangover. Moderation is key–we suggest sticking to one if you’re drinking for medicinal benefits.

If you’re feeling the first signs of a cold, fight it with this simple, classic Hot Toddy recipe. For the tea, you can use anything from English Breakfast to Chamomile–if you’re feeling a bit more creative, try adding spices like cinnamon, cloves, or anise to the hot water itself rather than a tea bag.

8oz Hot Water
1 Bag Herbal Tea
1oz Bourbon
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Lemon Wedge

Pour hot water into mug and let tea steep for 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bag and add honey. Stir until honey dissolves. Pour in whiskey, add squeeze of lemon, give it another stir and let the healing begin!