When Life Hands You Lemons, Add Bourbon and Make a Hot Toddy
Oh hey… the Olympics are on, and the only reason I’m not there is because fat bike racing is not an Olympic event. Yet. There’s also the small but annoying other little fact that my bronchitis turns out to be a spot of walking pneumonia. Darn lungs… Always a vulnerability with me. I’m halfway through treatment and starting to feel a teensy bit better. I think.
While I’m not quite ready to get back on the bike and start rebuilding my base fitness yet, I am doing a Super Top Secret Kickass Bike Ninja training program so as to not completely waste away. I’d be at the gym rowing and lifting weights, but the last time I checked the flu statistics at the CDC website, 29% of Oregon had the H1N1 flu. Which is why it’s a really, really bad idea to go to yoga class when you’re sick, kiddos. Hanging out in enclosed spaces where people are sweating and breathing hard is like jumping into a swimming pool of virus-filled mucus, head first. No thanks. Outside is free and germ-free.
Until I can run and ride again safely, I’m sticking with the Super Top Secret Kickass Bike Ninja (STSKBN) training. I can’t tell you about it because then I would have to destroy you, but I can share this much with you…because this is on youtube, making it decidedly not-so-secret.
There’s 3 reasons I love the Ninja sequence: glutes, quads, and adducters. Essentially, all the things I’m going to need more of in order to do well in the Oregon Enduro Series this year. For SSWC2014 I’m focusing on training by… oops. That’s the top part of “top secret”.
Training With Bourbon
The other not-so-secret part of my STSKBN involves training with bourbon. I’m referring to enlisting the healing properties of a hot toddy while recovering from illness. More than just a sensationalized sedative, a well-executed toddy is fine folk medicine. Yes, the bourbon has a sedating quality, but the other ingredients—even in the basic recipe—are great immune boosters. Some may argue the alcohol in a toddy cancels out any health benefits one might receive, but I’d rather make a warm, soothing drink made from ingredients I would normally eat (and can pronounce) than guzzle shots of synthetic blue-green chemical crap, any day.
In fact, over-the-counter medicines such as Nyquil do exactly what a hot toddy does to help one sleep better. If anything, hitting the Nyquil (or Dayquil or similar OTC “medicines”) means you’re taking in artificial dyes, sodium saccharine which is a nice name for 1,2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one,1,1-dioxide, and as much high fructose corn syrup as a Big Gulp. Sounds like a bucket full of cancer to me. The only thing a benefit Nyquil offers that a toddy doesn’t is antihistamine relief.
Assuming you don’t need an antihistamine, here’s a much tastier and and healthier alternative to OTC cold remedies:
Basic Bourbon Toddy
- Juice of 1/3 lemon
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 – 2 Shots bourbon
- Dash cinnamon
Place lemon, honey and cinnamon in mug and pour hot water over, dissolving honey thoroughly before adding bourbon. Variations that also offer some medicinal benefits include grated ginger or adding a cinnamon stick.
If toddy time is earlier in the afternoon, add an Earl Grey tea bag for a mild caffeine boost that’s gentler than coffee.
I don’t wish respiratory illness even anyone—not even my nemesis—but should you find yourself knocked on your butt because life’s handed you the lemon of bronchial infection skip the OTC medicine aisle at the grocery store and get thee to the distillery. Also, while I’ve given a basic bourbon toddy recipe, other alcohols work well too and recipes abound; I simply favor the warming effect of the vanilla overtones of bourbon.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Portland, I highly recommend local craft distiller Bull Run Distilling. Their Temperance Trader is a fine sipping whiskey, but don’t take my word for it; they have a cozy tasting room where you can see for yourself.
Got a favorite hot toddy recipe? Do tell! I’m always curious to try variations. You know… for medical science and because whiskey.