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Hot Toddy Mocktail

Hot toddies are a classic cold-fighting drink that can be made more versatile with tea as its base. 

For a while, my go-to nightcap was a hot toddy made with yerba maté and lemon juice. Granted, I was spiking my toddies back then with whiskey and, as it turns out, yerba maté can contain nearly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee—so for the sake of my sleep I had to nix the yerba maté nightcaps. 

This recipe is a healthier version of the classic cold-fighter, substituting the full-bodied flavor of whiskey with tannin-rich black tea for a similar flavor profile. (If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you can use a decaffeinated black tea instead if enjoying at night.) By removing the alcohol and lessening the sugar in this mocktail, you’re left with a warm, functional beverage that can soothe a sore throat when you’re sick.  

The flavonoids in black tea are suggested to support immune health in some studies, and may reduce the duration of upper respiratory tract infections. The infusion of citrus adds that immune powerhouse vitamin C to the beverage along with antiviral and antibacterial properties of star anise, clove, and nutmeg. Clove is also useful as an expectorant, if you’re dealing with congestion. Served warm with a touch of honey, this black tea hot toddy can comfort you through your next cold. 

TIPS:  

  • Instead of plain black tea, use lapsang souchong for a smokier flavor.
  • If your throat is feeling extra sensitive from an illness, skip brewing the cinnamon sticks so it will go down easier. 
  • For a more authentic alcoholic indulgence, top with 2-3 ounces of your favorite whiskey and enjoy as part of the 85/15 principle. 

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Details

  • Serves: 2
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tsp black tea (or 2 teabags)

  • 1 tsp raw honey

  • 1/2 orange, sliced

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 10 cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)

  • 2 whole star anise, plus more for garnish (AIP – omit or sub)

  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat water until boiling.

  2. Reduce heat and add tea, honey, orange, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Strain tea through a fine mesh sieve. Add lemon juice.

  4. Divide hot toddies between two glass mugs. Garnish with an extra orange slice, cinnamon stick, and star anise, if desired.

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