Cold Cure Cocktail

cold cure bourbon rum cocktail recipe

It’s cold season and everyone I know is suffering. The most recent flu bug—a nasty twist on a head cold with a sore throat, congestion, and undeniable exhaustion—is taking down the best of ’em. Even earnest, hand washing me.

I shouldn’t be surprised by my recent bout with a cold. When you work in a business that requires close contact with hundreds of people a day, it’s no wonder I’ve gotten sick. The flu shot and lots of hand washing helps, but sometimes the viruses that topple the ranks of fellow restaurant employees, wins.

So besides getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids*, and eating chicken soup, my sick body has been craving another kind of cold cure. Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and spicy peppers work its magic on burning away the final traces of a sore throat. Fill a tea pot with hot water, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, a shot of Buffalo Trace bourbon (or your favorite brown stuff) and sweeten the mix with a Jalapeño simple syrup. The drink’s warmth and fiery spice is the perfect late night answer to a cold cure. I’ve been feeling great ever since.

Spicy Hot Toddy

2 oz. (4 tablespoons) Bourbon (whiskey or rum can be easily substituted)
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Spicy Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
½ cup boiling hot water
1 lemon slice, for garnish

Add bourbon, lemon juice, and spicy simple syrup to a warmed mug or thick glass. Add the boiling hot water. Garnish with a lemon slice and serve.

Jalepeno spices up this very simple syrup
Jalepeno spices up this very simple syrup

Spicy Simple Syrup
This simple syrup will last for several weeks when it is refrigerated.

1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ of 1 Jalapeño (or another spicy pepper like Aleppo or Lipstick)—use more if you like things really spicy!

Add water and sugar to a sauce pan. Stir over high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the temperature and let cook until it becomes syrup-like, about 5-10 minutes.

Wearing rubber or latex gloves, slice the Jalapeño. Remove the seeds and top of the pepper and cut into four equal parts. Once the sugar and water mixture has become a syrup, add the spicy pepper. Let cook over medium heat until the pepper’s skin begins to change color, about 2-4 minutes. Be careful not to inhale the spicy fumes! Let cool.

When cool, pour the mixture into a glass jar. Cover. Can be stored in refrigerator for several weeks. Use this syrup for other drinks like a spicy margaritas.

Spicy Simple Syrup and Lemon
Spicy Simple Syrup and Lemon

*Hot water, a tablespoon of honey, 1/2 a lemon, and a handful of fresh ginger in a favorite mug always works wonders


Recent Posts

Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. Mia
    October 29

    Thanks for the suggestions! Hopefully I don’t get sick, but if I do, I’ll be sure to try them.

  2. October 29

    well I feel perfectly fine but it is cold out – which is reason enough to make this! 🙂

  3. October 29

    sounds good! it’s my first visit here and I really enjoy what I see 🙂

  4. October 29

    Hope you’re feeling better, Brooke! My family was felled as well…and half my office…and half the kids’ school…as long as we’re all better in time for our road trip next weekend I’ll be happy.

  5. October 29

    Get well soon – i feel run down enough to justify cold remedy cocktail – GENIUS idea – always used to have hot honey and lemon with a good slug of whiskey but like the idea of Jalapeño

  6. (cough, cough) I think I’d best make some of this right away, just in case. Fabulous!

  7. November 7

    Just what the doctor ordered! What a great site. I came across your blog from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide our readers to your site if you won’t mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

  8. November 11

    I’ve heard of curing cocktails before, but they’ve all involved tequila. Does bourbon really have the chops for the fight?

    • November 11

      Them’s fighting words, Tamar! Though, I’m always up for the challenge to find a better cold cure cocktail! Send me your best recipe!

  9. November 16

    Oh I wish I had found this over the weekend when I was stuck at home with a cold and Jennifer Perillo came over and brought me lentil soup. Next time, I’ll have this handy! 🙂

  10. November 19

    Mmm, great recipe. I just happened upon your blog — I love the variety of posts. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *