Can a Shot Really Warm You Up? Whiskey Myths - Debunked

Many believe that a straight shot of whiskey can warm you up on a cold day. People say a few different things about whiskey that, over time, have become exaggerated and in some cases, simply are not true. Savage Scorpions did some research for you to clear up a few of those myths.

Does drinking alcohol warm you up?
A shot of whiskey, whether it's a scorpion shot or just the whiskey alone, seems to give your body a type of "hot flash." It starts with a light fiery feeling in your belly and radiates out from there. 

This leads many to believe that a shot of whiskey on a cold night is all you need to warm yourself up. On the contrary, drinking alcohol actually has the opposite effect. Even though you may feel warmer, your actual core body temperature has been lowered. 

Alcohol dilates vessels which allows blood to move closer to the surface of the skin. The initial flow of blood gives the illusion of warmth but since it has been pulled toward your skin and away from your core, your skin may feel warmer but your body is actually colder.  

What is in the barrel around a rescue dog's neck?
We've all seen the cartoons and paintings where a St. Bernard rescue dog travels the snowy mountains with a barrel of alcohol around its neck. Supposedly this was meant to warm up the people trapped in the snow.

Well, we just told you that alcohol doesn't really work for warming up a body, so this wouldn't make sense. The more we looked into the origin of this idea, it was actually brandy rather than whiskey filling the dog's barrels. How did this even become a "thing?"

In 1820, a 17-year-old painter from England named Edwin Landseer created a painting entitled "Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler." It portrayed two St. Bernards standing over a fallen traveler. One of the dogs has a barrel strapped around its neck and when asked, Landseer himself said that the barrel was filled with brandy. In reality, dogs don't really carry brandy-filled barrels into the mountains but that painting started something that is still stuck in our minds to this day!  

Can a Hot Toddy cure a cold? 
Shorty answer - no. There is no known cure for the common cold. That said, a classic Hot Toddy cocktail can offer a bit of relief from some of the unpleasant symptoms. 

The recipe consists of whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and hot water. The heat from the beverage may relieve nasal congestion much like a bowl of hot chicken soup would. Honey is soothing on a sore throat and it is known to have some natural antibiotic effects. The whiskey dilates the blood vessels making it a little easier to combat the sniffles, letting your mucus membranes better deal with the cold. 

Be aware, though, that alcohol does dehydrate the body, so if you're "prescribing" a Hot Toddy for your cold, be sure to drink plenty of water along with it as well. 

So you see, drinking whiskey isn't going to warm you up this winter or cure that pesky cold, and if you happen to get lost in the Alps, any dogs that show up won't be bringing you cocktails. Your best bet for staying warm is either to travel to someplace tropical or bundle up and stay indoors, possibly next to a nice, hot fireplace. 

The heat from the fire will counteract the cold core body temperature should you decide to have a little whiskey. Add one of our creative drink ingredients (aka, Savage Scorpions) to the glass and that's bound to distract you in the most fun way possible from the icy temperatures outside!   

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