Favorite cocktail for when you're ill
I'm feeling a little under the weather this evening with a sore throat, which I guess means I'm catching the bug making the rounds at work. So I made myself a variant of my family's good-for-what-ails-ya drink. It's normally made with grappa or brandy, but since my grappa is currently soaking with artichoke and asperagus (on its way to becoming an amaro) I made it with rhum agricole, which I use as my go-to stand-in for grappa. Messing with the tried-and-true got me wondering what others make for themselves or their loved ones when they're feeling ill.
Anyhow, here's what I had:
2-ish healthy tablespoons of honey
1 good squeeze from a lemon
The same amound of strong tea as lemon juice
1 peppercorn, 1 bay leaf
Simmer the above ingredients for a minute or so. Add a healthy dose of grappa (or in this case rhum agricole), bring back to a simmer, pour immediately into a heated cup, and drink while hot.
When I was little, my mom would sometimes make me a Hot Toddie (Toddy?) at night when I was sick to help me sleep. I was way too young to enjoy alcohol (and way too young to legally drink) so I HATED it. However, it did do the job. I tried it once as an adult, and still HATED it. I don't remember now how she made it.
When I was a kid and my mother wasn't around, my grandmother would make us hot toddies: Irish whiskey, honey, lemon or orange, and tea.
Now that I'm all grown up, I do the same with hot water and either bourbon or rye (usually lower proof rye), lemon, cloves and nutmeg. (If you stud the lemon slice with cloves it's very pretty, I'll do that when I make for others, but just for me they go straight in). I suppose star anise would be nice too.
It's about 100 degrees in my apartment right now, so I make do with cold water or iced tea if I don't want to sleep. Once when I was ambitious I did a mint julep, which didn't make me any better, but I felt better.
I like your idea of a peppercorn, the bay leaf doesn't do much for me.