Flu Season Sorbet, Or The Frozen Hot Toddy

A dram of whiskey (Wikimedia Commons)

A dram of whiskey (Wikimedia Commons)

Old-timers know this remedy well: When you feel a bug coming on, you boil up some water and add honey, lemon and whisky — variations can include cayenne pepper — and voila, a germ-fighting Hot Toddy. You down it, you sweat through your clothes, you change them, you go to bed and wake up good as new. (That’s the theory, anyway. This isn’t exactly an evidence base, but it seems to work for my dad.)

Now, ABC news reports that the age-old Hot Toddy is being offered as a sorbet billed as soothing for flu sufferers:

Enter Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The Ohio-based company’s Influenza Sorbet won’t cure the flu, but it will definitely make you feel better, said Jeni Britton Bauer, the company’s founder and president.

The Influenza Sorbet contains honey, ginger, orange juice and lemon juice. And if that weren’t enough, it also has Maker’s Mark bourbon and cayenne pepper.

The result is a soothing sorbet with kick. It might not be what the doctor ordered, but Bauer said it works.

“My mother and grandmother made something very similar to that as a drink when I was a kid, even with the whiskey,” Bauer said Sunday. “Whiskey, honey and lemon juice and that was our cough medicine and they would thin it out and make it into a hot drink.”

Bauer says the sorbet soothes throats and helps flu patients sleep — and mainly, it tastes good. Readers, has anybody tried it? Is this opportunistic marketing gone wild, or a welcome epidemic-season treat?

Hat-tip to Karen Shiffman of On Point.

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  • Alix

    My French boarding school’s nuns always gave us a small hot toddy for la Grippe. You sweated it out under a comforter in the infirmary, the warmest room at 20c-68f The dorms were at 11c. Few adult pleasures have come close to that escape.

  • Joan

    A long time ago, also as a child, I was given hot toddies. They were made of tea, sugar, lemon & splash of whiskey. It did the trick, so to speak!

  • alexafleckensteinmd

    We physicians in Western medicine are quite oblivious to temperatures, and what they do to your body. In Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, cold drinks – and especially ice-cold drinks – are said to take away life energy, chi, because the fluid has to be warmed up in the kidneys. An oncoming bout with a virus might be the worst time for a sorbet. Whereas a hot toddy has common sense behind it.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.