// Warm up with a simple classic highlighting a single spirit. //
Today is Hot Toddy Day! So,...
What is a Toddy? Cozy up this January and February with a hot toddy. No, not the name of the cute artsy dude in the office next to you. Simply sugar, water, and a healthy ABV (alcohol by volume) spirit, and you are set. To some degree, anyway. Originally, toddies were created hot or cold, but warm was the preferred method, and seemed to define the cocktail name. Like any classic cocktail, the recipe ranges in serving amount and ingredients used. A go-to book I use weekly is Dale DeGroff's The Essential Cocktail, and this book calls for dark rum and either rye, or bourbon as the two spirits. Bartending legend Jerry Thomas references whiskey, Harry Craddock's 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book states any desired spirit, other credible sources note brandy, and Scotch for the spirit to use. The sweet component changes by source, too. Sometimes honey, or maple, or even agave in more contemporary menus. A hot tea, apple cider, or traditionally water can be used. A lot depends on the region you are ordering the drink. Personally, I find this more interesting when a drink varies slightly by local influence.
Philadelphia's Tun Tavern, built in 1686.
A little additional background on the name is that cocktail historians believe the name originated from the toddy stick, which was a tool used by bartenders to muddle, or smash spices and sugar. In early America, sugar was packaged in loaves. The tool has morphed into what we know today as the muddler. In DeGroff's book, he mentions Robert Toddy, a proprieter of a tavern in New York City, as influence for the name, also. ~ Jason
Here are a few recipe versions of the Hot Toddy that were mentioned above. Grab that ugly sweater, click it on Netflix, and get comfy!
Dale Degroff's recipe
.5 oz brandy, rum, or both
1 tsp honey
.5 oz lemon juice
Combine in a mug and fill with hot water or tea.
The Joy of Mixology / Gary Regan / 2003
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp honey
4-5 oz boiling water
2 oz bourbon, Scotch, rye, brandy, or dark rum
freshly grated nutmeg or allspice
1 lemon twist, for garnish
Place the cloves, cinnamon stick, and honey into a preheated Irish coffee glass and add the boiling water. Stir briefly to dissolve the honey, and allow the mixture to stand for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the liquor, stir briefly, then dust the top of the drink with the nutmeg or allspice. Add the garnish.
How to Mix Drinks / Jerry Thomas / 1862
1 tsp sugar
1/2 wine-glass of water [1 oz]
1 dose of whiskey [2 oz]
1 small lump of ice
Stir with a spoon.
The Savoy Cocktail Book / Harry Craddock / 1930
Dissolve 1 lump of sugar in water.
Use 1 glass of any spirit desired
1 lump of ice
Use medium size glass and stir well.
* Main header image photographed by Oksana Mizina, and purchased through Shutterstock.