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Feeling under the weather? Forget about cough medicine–drink this instead

Not feeling well? File your sick leave, stay at home, and have some whiskey.

A popular cold and flu remedy in Europe, the Hot Toddy is a mix of liquor (usually whiskey, rum, or brandy), hot water, lemon, and honey. Whiskey has traditionally been used as a cure for everything from toothache to sore throat, even heartburn and swine flu.

An article from TIME magazine even described whiskey as “one of the cheapest and best painkillers known to man.” Two doctors mentioned in the piece reported a few ounces of alcohol raised their pain threshold by 45% for two hours, recommending whiskey for “persons suffering continuously.”

While there are many variations, here’s the classic hot toddy recipe for you to try:

1. Prepare a cup of hot water. Tea works just as well.
2. Stir in one teaspoon of honey.
3. Add one shot of whiskey.
4. Squeeze a wedge of lemon.

The steam from the hot water or tea, will open up your sinuses.

The alcohol in the whiskey is a great decongestant. It dilates the blood vessels, making it easy for your mucus membranes to deal with infection, not to mention help you sleep better.

Honey’s thick consistency helps coat your throat and soothe any soreness. It is also believed to trigger nerve endings that protects your throat from persistent coughing.

The lemon adds vitamin C and helps clear your nasal passages from germs.

We’re not recommending you go overboard boozing it up every time you get the sniffles, though. Too much whiskey can dehydrate you, among other more obvious effects. So go ahead, try the hot toddy for yourself the next time you’re nursing a cold. Just don’t forget your mom’s time-honored advice while you’re at it: stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

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