Hot Toddy

When the Weather Outside is Frightful…..

Try a Hot Toddy.   The Hot Toddy is a mixed drink, usually including alcohol, that is served hot. Hot Toddies (such as mulled wine or cider) are traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in wet and/or cold weather. They were believed to help cure the common cold…..  or anything else that ails you!  In fact, during the dark days of Prohibition, one could still have a Toddy for that very reason—there was a loophole in Prohibition laws stating that spirits used as a curative, alleviative or palliative for bodily disorders or bodily pain could be legally sold. Whiskey was horded by pharmacists and rationed as “medicinal liquor”. The toddy’s reputation as a cure for fever, colds, insomnia, and other such bodily disorders, allowed it to slip through that crack.

At its simplest, a Toddy is just spirits, a sweetener like sugar or honey and boiling water.  You can add lemon juice, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and swap the hot water for hot apple cider…..  The variations are endless.  We occasionally do whiskey, lemon juice and honey for a sore throat.  Rum, brown sugar and hot apple juice with a few cloves is also a winner.  In Scandinavia they serve Glogg, in Italy they actually serve a Toddy made with Cynar (artichoke-flavored digestif) and in Britain they mull Scrumpy (hard cider) which is delicious.  Once, many years ago, my husband and I ventured out into an English snowstorm and ended up at a pub that served a Hot Toddy made with clove liqueur.   That being said, although Toddies can be prepared with practically any alcohol, it is thought that pot-stilled spirits, such as cognac, single-malt scotch, and some dark rums, ryes, and bourbons, produce the best results.

Hot Toddy

1 tsp white granulated or demerara sugar
3–4 oz boiling water
2 oz cognac, scotch, or rum, rye, or bourbon

To a warmed toddy glass, add the sugar, boiling water, and spirits. Stir with a cinnamon stick and serve.


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