There’s a good reason humans have been warming up their liquor for centuries of winters. Our favorite barman tells all.
- 2 ounces high-proof whiskey, like Six & Twenty Distillery’s Blue Label Wheat
- ¾ ounce lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 2 teaspoons local honey
- 4 ounces boiling water (plus enough to rinse the mug)
- Cinnamon stick for garnish
Rinse coffee mug with hot water. Pour honey and lemon juice into the mug with an ounce of the boiling water and stir with cinnamon stick until honey is melted. Add whiskey and another 2-3 ounces of the boiling water and stir with a cinnamon stick to fully combine.
Sip quickly (while it is still hot) until you forget what ails you.
About the Drink
One night at my first bartending job (some 108 years ago) about midway through the shift, I was struck suddenly with a fit of ague and other symptoms of flu-like woe. The bar was three deep with customers and more were piling in the door, so unless both of my arms fell off, I was stuck there to the finish. Either moved by my clammy pitifulness or fearful that I was going to collapse where I stood, leaving her to handle the horde of booze-hungry college kids alone, Merrie pushed a hot plastic cup into my hand. “This will get you through.”
The contents of that cup (a mini-bottle of Wild Turkey 101 heated under the scalding hot hand wash sink tap, stirred with a healthy squirt of honey from a clear plastic bear-shaped bottle and three lemon wheels from the garnish bin) did get me through, and has been my go-to home remedy for colds, flu, bad break-ups, wintertime blues and general malaise ever since.
My version of Merrie’s life saver turns it basically into a grog (whiskey, sweetened and soured and warmed with hot water) to sip rather than chug down while under the gun. I found Six & Twenty Distillery’s Blue Label Wheat Whiskey packs enough punch at a respectable 90 proof, to hold its own with the lemon and honey. Plus it’s damn tasty stuff.
For the record, I do not advocate drinking behind the bar, or at any job for that matter. Save this one for at home use only.