Forget Aspirin – when dying from a cold it’s a hot toddy for me!

OVER the past few years I’ve become a lover of malt whisky. I used to be partial to a drop of blended Scotch, but since getting the taste for malt I’ve found it hard to go back.

Like a lot of people, I began with the girlie varieties, soft, sweet, easy-to- sip Speysides like The Macallan. But I’ve developed a taste for something with a bit more of a kick. My current favourite is the Highland malt Balvenie.

I’ve never really been a huge fan of the sharp Listerine-like taste of the strongest Islay malts, but there are times when you really feel like something a bit peaty.

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If it’s one of those days when I really feel like being kicked in the head I’ll go and order a double Talisker.

It’s been ages since I had a bottle of malt in the house, so I was shocked and stunned when I nipped into the supermarket the other day to pick up a bottle.

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Maybe they only had supersized bottles on sale, but the price of a decent bottle of malt seems to have soared. I ended up with an own- brand Islay single malt which came in at under £20.

It may sound like the pathetic excuse of a hopeless alcoholic, but I only really needed it for medicinal reasons.

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Thanks to my visit to the Borders countryside this week I’ve been left with a horrific knee-trembler of a cold. And the marvellous cut-price malt has had a fantastic therapeutic effect on my sniffles and shivers.

Cut with boiling water and served with a big dollop of sugar, the magic medicine sent my temperature soaring, but I woke up with a clearer head after a deep dreamless sleep. I even revived the old Highland tradition known as a “skalk” and had a little preventative snifter over breakfast.

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Unfortunately now, as I sit at my desk, the shivers and sniffles are beginning to come back.

But at least I have a big bottle of the Water of Life waiting at home to take me through the weekend. Friends have recommended trying it with honey and adding a slice of lemon.

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Must remember to find that hip flask.