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Hot Toddies Keep Out the Chill

By Anne Mitchell · November 7th, 2012 · Drink
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Cocktail tastes change with the seasons. When the wind and rain shut down outdoor patios, it’s just not Tiki time anymore. All of a sudden, a hot toddy sounds appealing — comforting and even healing. 

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to flu shots, I’d rather skip the doctor and follow the advice of a good bartender, like Rom Wells of The Rookwood in Mount Adams. He prescribes a single barrel (preferably barrel proof) whiskey, lemon and honey, with a whole star anise, cinnamon stick and clove in it, served in a snifter. That sounds like a cure for the common winter blahs.

I was sparked in my search for great hot toddies when I saw a tweet from Cocktailians.com about a maple version. I’ve been known to make a Maple Old Fashioned myself, so I was intrigued. I followed up with Cocktailians’ chief researcher Sam Meyer, who believes in a toddy’s healing powers.

“It helps you sleep, your sore throat goes away and the lemon even gives you some vitamin C,” he says. 

Meyer pointed me to the following recipe, from Jamie MacBain, head bartender at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C., which calls for wheated bourbon. A good choice would be my favorite, W. L. Weller. 

Hot Maple Toddy

1.5 ounces wheated bourbon 

1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

1-2 bar spoons of maple butter (or good-quality maple syrup)

1 dash bitters (preferably Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters)

Hot water

Combine all the ingredients in a coffee mug and stir until the maple butter dissolves. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Molly Wellmann at Japp’s in Over-the-Rhine offers a hot toddy inspired by “the way bartenders made flips back in the 1700s.” 

“Toddies, slings, whisky skins and early flips are all pretty similar,” Molly explains.

“Back in the 1600s and 1700s, they made flips by adding sugar, rum or whiskey and ale to a mug and then flipping it by taking a red hot poker called a loggerhead and sticking it in the mug. The concoction would froth and warm and then nutmeg was grated on top.”

Here’s Molly’s recipe for a fantastic hot drink with her suggested liquors.

The Bouncing Pilgrim

In a pot add: 

1 cup spiced rum or whiskey (“Kraken Rum will work nicely for this and I like to use Bulleit if you’re going with whiskey”)

1/4 cup vanilla syrup

1 bottle of a dark stout (“I suggest Nitro by Left Hand Brewing”)

1 small cinnamon stick 

Heat until it comes to a boil or begins to froth. Pour in to a mug and garnish with grated nutmeg. This recipe should serve four people.


Inspired yet? Here are more suggestions for homemade toddies from Imbibe magazine. 

Hot gin and lemon — a classic from the Brits: 1 1/2 ounces bourbon, 1/2 ounce Domaine du Canton ginger liqueur, juice of 1/2 a lemon, barspoon of simple syrup and hot water in a tall mug. 

Hot lemonade with Domaine du Canton and honey: two dashes Bittercube bolivar bitters, 1/4 ounce simple syrup, juice from a muddled lemon wedge, 2 ounces bourbon, topped off with hot black tea.

Spicy Chai Toddy with hot water: chai tea, fresh lemon juice, ginger syrup, Dunc’s Mill Backwoods Reserve Aged Rum and a pinch of cayenne pepper.


Meyer from Cocktailians had another suggestion for one of his favorite hot drinks both to make and to drink. It isn’t quite a toddy, but is a hot version of a “sangaree,” another very old kind of drink. This recipe is from The Pegu Club’s Audrey Saunders and was printed in The New York Times.

Hot Port Sangaree

15 ounces ruby port 

2 ounces pomegranate molasses 

3 1/2 ounces simple syrup 

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice 

5 dashes orange bitters 

3 dashes Angostura bitters 

12 strips lemon peel, pith removed, for garnish 

In a 750-milliliter bottle, combine all ingredients except lemon peel. If the sangaree is not being served immediately, it may be kept, tightly corked, in the refrigerator up to a week. To serve, pour 4 ounces sangaree and one lemon twist for each serving into a small pot. Heat until just before boiling. Strain into a small mug or teacup and garnish with a fresh lemon twist. Makes about six servings.


CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: amitchell@citybeat.com

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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