"All the rich requisites are brought from far:
the table from Japan, the tea from China, the sugar from Amazonia, or the West Indies,
but that 'Scotia does no such costly tribute bring,
Only some kettles full of Todian spring"
None have missed the references to the dastardly cold from whose grips I have thankfully loosed myself — to some degree. The cold remedies have been much appreciated; some I tried out of sheer desperation (garlic cloves grated into a large glass of orange juice) others I avoided out of fear (running naked outside in -20 weather as "cold killer" — definitely not).
Numerous people offered some form of hot toddy, a hot alcoholic drink which most health practitioners recommend not using due to lack of evidence of benefit and its potential for dehydration and other ill effect.
Despite this, hot toddies seems the preferred cold remedy, probably due to its efficacy as soporific aide, historical legacy ("my mom used to make them") and tasty ingredients. What is there not to like about a hot drink (soothing to throat) requiring whatever strong spirit you prefer (whisky, gin, brandy) and a bit of sweetener (honey, sugar, even maple syrup)?
A Wikipedia writer suggests the term Hot Toddy might have been adopted sometime in the 18th Century, reflective of Tod's Wells, aka Todian in Allan Ramsay's poem posted above. The well was one of the providers of water in Edinburgh; with the gaelic term uisge for water used to name whiskey it is possible Todian was used to name a source of whiskey.
Hot toddy, then, could refer to warmed Whiskey. Accurate, or not, it seems to remain a staple of my UK-descended friends and colleagues.
Recipes often include a lot of spices of the typical sweet sort, including cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, etc and addition of some citrus. Some include addition of tea bags, others include butter or hot milk — which Id' recommend avoiding if one is producing too much phlegm
I remain unconvinced alcoholic beverages actually assist healing; I often make a similar drink as the one listed below, but without the booze. However, I do admit a bit of spiced, warm booze after a bracing winter outing is perfect.
II provide a loose recipe here but I am intrigued to know your favourite (there's a spot for comments below this post).
A Hot Toddy variant (or everything but the kitchen sink, warmed up)
1 tbsp honey (or more to taste)
4 whole cloves
liberal pinch of cardamom seeds
3/4 glass tea
2 shots whiskey (or favourite alcohol)
1 slice lemon
Fill glass with boiling water, spices and cinnamon stick. Pour in alcohol and stir in the honey. Add lemon slice. Drink.