Hot toddies are iconic beverages typically served during holidays.

In the United States, hot toddies are an after dinner staple from Thanksgiving until the first week of January, which happens to be a cooler period for most of North America.

In Europe, it is not unusual for a family doctor to recommend a hot toddy as part of the treatment plan to care for a cold, and there happens to be a scientific explanation for this.

Similar to chicken soup, many people believe that hot toddies work because they are related to comfort and well-being.

It so happens that the combination of chicken soup with certain herbs and spices creates a relaxing and antimicrobial effect. In a hot toddy, the combination of bourbon, herbal tea, honey, and lemon also create a therapeutic effect that alleviates symptoms brought on by the common cold and by influenza.

The bourbon mixture of corn, malt and rye has antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. In fact, just about any whiskey can bring some level of cold relief since it acts as a decongestant. Various steaming hot beverages made with liquor help to clear up the sinus canals, and more so hot toddies since they incorporate herbal tea, honey and lemon.

The added benefit is to drink the hot toddy while enjoying a warm and comfortable setting and before going to bed; this relaxation brings about physiological and psychological benefits.

Rock and rye is a delicious medicine, especially made with dried orange peels, cinnamon bark, bing cherries and rock candy. With cold and flu season upon us, it's hard to go anywhere these days without hearing a cacophony of coughs and sinus-clearing sneezes. 

And while most under-the-weather folks turn to over-the-counter drugs, various vitamins, endless cups of tea and steaming bowls of chicken soup to feel better, it wasn't that long ago that a glass of rock and rye was considered an effective cure-all.  

Some people believe the origin of the elixir may date back to when bartenders offered rough rye whiskey with a bit of rock candy, which customers would add to the spirit until it was palatable enough to drink.