Long ago when I was in law school there used to be a place on 57th Street and 3rd Avenue in NYC called Tommy Makem’s Irish Pavilion. Remember the traditional Irish music of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers? That Tommy Makem.
My aunts and my mother’s cousins and my cousins used to make such a regular habit of being there on Thursday nights (there was live music Thursday through Sunday and Thursday was the least crowded) that there was a table permanently reserved for our family each Thursday.
Depending on the route I took home, I might get off the subway at Lexington Ave. and walk over to 3rd to catch an express bus home and that would take me right past the Irish Pavilion. As you can imagine, I would often stop in of a Thursday to have a pint and say Hi to the fams.
During my second year of law school I developed pneumonia but tried to keep on at school. I had been invited onto a law review and the workload from that in addition to my course work was crushing. I did not want to fall behind.
One night, I was walking past the Irish Pavilion, too exhausted I thought to make it to 3rd Avenue and wondering if I had the strength to get home when I realized – it was Thursday! I went to the door of the Irish Pavilion, there was line out onto the pavement. But I shoved by a bit and caught the eye of Declan the matre’d . He took one look at me, all flushed and glassy eyed with fever, and pulled me in saying, “I’ll get Tommy.”
I went back to the family table and, thank heavens, there along with a mess of cousins and second cousins was my Aunt Vera. I was saved. A minute later, Tommy came out of the kitchen with a steaming mug, said “you must do as you Uncle Tommy tells you now”, and ordered me to drink its contents. Although Tommy was not really my uncle, he said it would save my life, so I sipped it down.
I am still alive, so I guess he was right. The hot toddy recipe is one I have come back to for more colds, flus and bronchitis than you can shake a stick at. It never fails.
In an Irish Coffee mug or similar container, put:
1 tablespoon of honey
1/6 of a lemon (no more, not less)
1 clove (stuck in the rind of the lemon. Avoid the temptation to add more cloves)
1 shot of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey (Bushmill’s doesn’t work as well, I cannot figure out why)
fill to the top with boiling water.
Breathe the vapors until it is cool enough to sip. Then, sip and breathe until finished. You will feel so comforted and have the most restorative night’s sleep. I have also used it prophylacticly to avoid illness when I have been soaked with icy mud during the odd early spring rugby match. There is nothing like the combination of hot bath and Tommy’s toddy to ward off the effects of the cold .
So, now that it is colds and flu season and with the weird weather we have been having, maybe we should expect more, we may need lots more home remedies. What traditional remedies have you used in your family? For that matter, does anybody else have a great hot toddy recipe? How about a favorite cold weather meal recipe? Something for after the snow shoveling, or better still, something for those nights when you have to commute home in freezing rain?