This weekend there is a cold snap that’s hitting us here in the great Garden State. We have been enjoying temps in the 50s and 60s sprinkled in with a few low 70s and it’s February! This weekend temps are dipping into the mid-30s as the high.

It’s also the flu season and many of my friends, family and co-workers have experienced the disgust of flu symptoms that have kept them quarantined and feeling a lot less than perfect. What to do to stay warm and to fight off the nasty flu? You have to try my Big Joe’s Hot Toddy.

I know I sound like a snake oil salesman but I’m telling you it works for me. It really is a natural way to fight the chill of the weather and help cope with crud of the flu.

Big Joe’s Hot Toddy is an adult beverage that is made with whiskey or bourbon. If you’re somebody who doesn’t drink, that’s OK: skip the liquor and increase the cloves, honey and tea in the recipe.

I originally introduced this recipe for the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics New Jersey, which historically takes place on the last Saturday in February.

At the Polar Bear Plunge, scantily clad individuals who have raised big money take a dip into the 30-something-degree waters of the Atlantic to raise big money for Special Olympics New Jersey. It was Big Joe’s Hot Toddy that saved many after the plunge in helping them ward off the constant chills that their dip had caused. I’m telling you if there was a Nobel Prize for hot beverages that have helped humanity, this would be the winner.

You don’t have to plunge or have the flu to enjoy my hot toddy. You deserve it. Here’s what you need. Cheers!


1 bag of your favorite black tea
10 oz. of almost boiling water
1-2 oz. of Bourbon
1 wedge of orange
1 tsp. of honey (Optional) Orange slice with whole cloves pushed into it
Cinnamon Stick (Optional)

How to put it together:

In a kettle or small pot, heat the water just hot enough that it almost boils. In a large mug, pour hot water over the tea bag and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and discard.

Now depending on how cold you are from diving into the icy waters of the Atlantic, add 1 - 2 oz. of your favorite Bourbon. Squeeze a wedge of orange into the tea and gently stir to incorporate everything.

For me the juice from the orange and the naturally sweet notes from the bourbon are sweet enough. If you want it a bit sweeter or if you have a sore throat, you can add a tsp. of honey. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange with a couple of whole cloves pushed into it. Enjoy and feel the warmth start to return.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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