There are many things to love about winter: extra blankets on the bed, sweatshirts, fuzzy slippers and boots, scarves and mittens, oh my!  There are also many things to despise about winter: shorter days, dry skin, the blistering cold, and oh yes, getting sick.  Being prone to respiratory infections, I always panic when I feel the symptoms coming on.  Stuffy nose, tender and swollen throat, head congestion—I’ll rush to chug packets of Emergen-C and chug glass after glass of hot water with lemon but sometimes it’s just too late. 

The Mighty Respiratory Monster prevails and wastes no time making your entire body feel like a listless lump of coughing, sniffling, icky snot glob.  You sound gross, you look gross you feel gross and downing half a bottle of Nyquil along with that gigantic glass of Theraflu gives you weird dreams.  (It also gives you the worst hangover the next morning or is that just me??)  So unfortunately I got sick over the weekend and by Monday I felt delirious – achy joints, fatigue, sore swollen throat and congestion to the max.  I opted for the more natural route this time to treat my cold symptoms and folks, the results were a huge WIN.

I hocus pocused a magical concoction that will now be my go to cure-all for all future cold symptoms.  I introduce to you – the Intesi-toddy.  It’s like a Hot Toddy but INTENSE.  What makes it intense you ask?  Your usual Hot Toddy has brandy (I used spiced rum), honey, lemon and tea – I’ve pumped it up a notch and threw in some cayenne, cloves, cinnamon and ginger to give the drink a KICK.  I’m telling you, it really knees your cold straight in the groin – it shows your cold who’s the boss and tells him to get the hell out of town.  (I always imagine my colds as male characters because they cause so much trouble, ZING!) In other words, it’s awesome and next time you’re as sick as a dog make this and drink at least 4 cups a day. 


Make sure it’s really hot, add more honey to the recipe if you want it sweeter, and don’t be a baby when it comes to the cayenne because that’s the magical stuff that does the ass kicking. All the spices in this drink are anti-inflammatory and can help with cough suppression, breaking up of mucus and increased blood circulation to help fight the infection.  Also for the men out there, if your Toddy needs an extra kick like my Mister’s did, feel free to give it some extra love ;) .

In the meantime, stay warm, drink lots of fluids, and wash your hands often.   Remember to cough into your arm instead of your hand and don’t be gross when you sneeze.    And if you see someone a little sniffly just tell them “Sounds to me like you need an INTENSI-TODDY!!” Be sure to yell extra loud for the extra dramatics because people who are sick tend to like that. 


  1. Tweets that mention Intensi-Toddy! — says: 27 Jan ’11 • 06:23:54

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joy Zhang, Joy Zhang. Joy Zhang said: @thekitchn Cure your cold woes with my Intensi-toddy :) An all natural remedy for colds! [...]


  2. Brian says: 28 Jan ’11 • 15:15:33

    Oh Joy, this brings such a smile to my face. I love ending an evening with a hot toddy… but this just brings it to the next level. Beautiful!


    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:33:54

      Thanks Brian :) ! Hot toddys are the bomb

  3. Kathleen says: 28 Jan ’11 • 17:17:24

    Oh! This looks tasty! Though I’d have to substitute the honey with something due to a food allergy to honey. Kinda sucks.


    • Jay says: 1 Feb ’11 • 11:19:57

      At the bright side, you can replace the honey with Agave? That is a thought. It doesnt have to suck. ;o)

    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:34:26

      aw no! Allergic to honey? :( that does kind of stink! Maybe you can try agave syrup?

  4. Jean says: 28 Jan ’11 • 17:52:40

    I so could have used a vat of this soothing toddy this week. Just getting over my cold but I’m sure I would have been better much sooner with this. And I have most, if not all, of the ingredients already. Should have dropped by sooner. Glad you’re feeling better, Joy. :-)

    Have a wonderful weekend!


    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:34:49

      Thank you Jean :) !!

  5. tasteofbeirut says: 29 Jan ’11 • 03:45:40

    I am enraptured by your photos; I would also be savoring that warm and spicy drink. I have had 2 weeks of misery with a cold and could have used this back then!


    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:35:12

      ACK! being sick stinks, glad you are feeling better :)

  6. Steff says: 29 Jan ’11 • 15:19:05

    Joy – I love this post. So many phrases jumped out and made me life out loud. Seriously. Loved it!

    And, if the Respiratory Monster even thinks about looking my way, I’m so going to rely on this recipe to kick its a**.


    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:54:34

      LOL Thanks Steff :) !! Make the Respiratory Monster pay if he ever comes for you…

  7. [...] but with this boozy treat, the three elements combine to make a heavenly-looking dessert shake. The Intensi-Toddy cocktail (Joylicious) – Kick that cold in the ass and still get to booze it [...]


  8. Jay says: 1 Feb ’11 • 11:21:41

    Love your beautiful blog!! But how can I print the recipe without printing the entire thing?


    • Joy says: 21 Feb ’11 • 15:53:50

      Jay good feedback, I will look into finding a way to have printable recipes!

  9. Veggie Belly says: 9 Apr ’11 • 18:34:26

    I love everything about this! And your pictures are gorgeous!


  10. let the holiday drinking begin! | remnants says: 10 Nov ’11 • 17:00:48

    [...] 1. Cider Rum Punch, 2. Spiced Apple Cider Sangria , 3. Apple, Ginger, & Cranberry Vodka Cocktail, 4. Intensi-Toddy [...]


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