Après Ski or cure for the common cold? I vote both. There is a reason people have been enjoying some permutation of this drink since the 17th century. The wonderful David Wondrich once compared this family of beverages to a tripod. It has always rung true with me. This is a seemingly simple drink with just three ingredients – a spirit, a sweetener and hot water. Remove one of these and the drink falls on its face. This simplicity leads to a lot of wiggle room in which spirit and sweetener you use.
The Scots (shockingly) prefer whiskey, the Dutch use genever (aka jenever aka gin), and here in America, we’ve favored rum or brandy in Colonial times and bourbon more recently. On the sweetener side of things, cane sugar, maple syrup, demerara, or a sweet spirit to accompany the base? If you’re sick, keeping things simple is easy, comforting and helps soothe all the icky feelings your having. If you’ve just finished an adventure out into the great, cold wilderness, trying something a bit more adventurous might be more challenging and stimulating to get the body warm.
On the more unique side of the family, I like to combine cognac with ginger liqueur and Grand Marnier or tequila, honey and white tea. There is no end to the possibilities. If you have a favorite please let me know! In the interim, and in the spirit of cold season, here is my method.
4 oz hot water
2 oz bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve this time)
1 tbsp honey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Wedge of lemon for garnish
Set water to boil. I’m all about the whistle of the old school kettle but the electric sort are so fast!
While water is heating, combine bourbon, honey and lemon juice in a mug that hold at least 8 ounces.
Pour hot water over mixture in mug while stirring with a spoon.
Garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy, feel better and cheers!