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As the air gets colder and autumn turns into winter, those of us with seasonal affective disorder retreat farther into the confines of our warm homes, hoping to make it through yet another long, dark season, convinced that this year we just might not. To add insult to injury, doctors say that this flu season will be worse than last year’s. But there is one sure-fire way to raise my winter spirits.

The hot toddy is one of my favorite winter warmers. It has its roots in Scottish tradition and is usually made with whiskey, honey, hot water and spices such as nutmeg or clove. It was touted as a cure for the common cold, but that was when people lived to the ripe old age of 35, so I wouldn’t take their word for it. While this toddy has no medicinal value, it will cure what ails you (if what ails you is a craving for a warm mug of alcoholic something).

In the Maine Toddy, I use Liquid Riot Bottling Co.’s Old Port Bourbon Whiskey (produced in Portland). I like the bourbon because it has a hint of warm vanilla that takes care of the spice part of a hot toddy, in my opinion. I also use a favorite of mine, Dram Pine Syrup (out of Colorado), made with actual evergreen needles, because everyone needs a bit of pine needles in their diet.

THE RECIPE

2 ounces Old Port Bourbon Whiskey
0.5 ounce honey
0.5 ounce Dram Pine Syrup
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
4 ounces boiling water

Put bourbon, honey, pine syrup and lemon juice in a mug. Pour over boiling water and stir until all is dissolved. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Jessie Lacey lives in a bunker in Portland, waiting out the winter.

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