{drink it up} The Art of the Hot Toddy

My tea toddy

It’s officially flu season. According to the CDC, the onset of flu season has been delay recently. If (like me) you thought that you were in the clear, think again. The nasty virus might still be lurking, waiting to take you as its next prey.

And then there is all the other yuckiness that’s been floating around, like that stomach bug that has hit the homes of many FSC contributors and food swappers. My daughter had the 24-hour stomach bug, but luckily I didn’t get it. I’d like to think that’s because I took the proactive approach of disinfecting my gut with healthy doses of Scotch on a regular basis during Puke-Palooza 2012.

Straight-up Scotch not your idea of a good time? Take a mellowed approach with a hot toddy. There are approximately three bazillion ways in which one could make the concoction, but today I’m leaving you with five solid options. Hot toddies are a cure-all that can be consumed to remedy a variety of ailments. William Faulkner (one of my favorite authors) was known for his reliance on the hot toddy to cure everything from “a bad spill from a horse to a bad cold, from a broken leg to a broken heart.” Faulkner works are also notoriously difficult to read… perhaps this is because of too many hot toddies.

Toddies aren’t something to be sipped slowly. Drink your toddy while it’s still piping for best effect. You can tailor your toddy to fit your tastes, but the basic algorithm for toddy perfection is as follows: A little alcohol, a few medicinal/homeopathic ingredients and flavorings, and some hot liquid. That’s it! Keep in mind that some herbs and spices will enhance flavor better than others (here’s a quick listing of what to use based on ailment).

RECIPE: Basic Hot Toddy

This toddy is a good remedy for head colds and scratchy throats

¼ cup (2 ounces) whiskey or bourbon (Maker’s Mark is a great choice here)
Squeeze of lemon
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup (4 ounces) boiling water

In a mug, combine the whiskey, lemon and honey. Add a splash of boiling water and stir to dissolve the honey. Top with remainder of the boiling water. Garnish with a lemon slice (if desired). Enjoy hot.

RECIPE: Tea Toddy

Like the basic toddy, this version is great for sore throats and throbbing heads

¼ cup whiskey or bourbon (again, try Maker’s Mark
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup hot black (steeped with a cinnamon stick broken into 3 pieces) or chai tea

In a mug, combine the whiskey and honey.  Add a splash of the tea and stir to dissolve the honey. Top with the remainder of the tea. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy hot.

RECIPE: Hot Rum Toddy

Whiskey, bourbon, brandy and rum are probably the most noted spirits for hot toddies. This version relies on the sweetness of orange liquor to balance the sting of rum. This is a great pick-me-up after sloshing through cold snow on your way home from work.

¼ cup dark rum (Kraken Black Spiced Caribbean Rum is excellent here)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
Squeeze of orange
½ cup hot water

Combine all ingredients in a mug (water does not have to be boiling here, since nothing needs to be dissolved). Stir to combine. Garnish with an orange slice if desired. Enjoy hot. 

RECIPE: Hot Gin Toddy

When most people think of gin-based drinks, they don’t think of something hot. Gimlets, Martinis and G&Ts are more apropos, some may say. But gin has amazing juniper flavors and citrus notes that, once heated, act nearly as good as any application of Vicks VapoRub. Drink this Gin Toddy to alleviate a stuffy head and congested sinuses.

¼ cup London Dry Gin (like Tanqueray or Beefeaters)
1 sugar cube (or 1 teaspoon sugar)|Squeeze of lemon
½ cup boiling water

In a mug, combine gin, sugar and lemon. Add enough hot water to dissolve the sugar and stir until mostly dissolved. Add the remainder of the water. Garnish with a lemon slice (if desired) and enjoy hot. 

RECIPE: Ginger Toddy

Ginger is a great digestive aide (remember how Mom used to bring you ginger ale and saltines when you had a funny tummy?). Try this toddy to help with stomach problems (for those with bouts of morning sickness, take out the liquor and you have a tasty ginger tea to help with pregnancy woes).

¼ cup bourbon or whiskey
1 piece ginger candy or chew (I like the Ginger People organic variety, which I find in my local conventional grocery store)
Squeeze of lemon
½ cup boiling water

In a mug, combine the hot water and ginger candy. Stir to dissolve the candy (you might have a little nugget left in the bottom of your mug – that’s okay, as long as it’s mostly dissolved).  Add the lemon and whiskey and stir to combine. Enjoy hot. 

Want more? If you need more ideas on hot drinks or cold remedies, here are two more: Mulled Cider and Britin’s Fire Cider.

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Categories: Booze, Drinks, recipe, Winter

Author:Deanna

Deanna N. Fox is a twentysomething entrepreneur and writer. She lives in Delanson, NY on an old farm and apple orchard with her four year old daughter Edith, and three year old son Eric (and a bunch of mangy animals). Deanna is dedicated to leading a stylish, sustainable lifestyle (while having fun!) and teaching others how to live similarly regardless of living situation via her blog Silly Goose Farm. Deanna was raised on similar principles amongst farms in Chenango County, NY, and believes that most of the world's problems can be solved by first ensuring everyone has access to good, wholesome food. When not hatching up new business ideas, renovating the farm or playing the in the dirt, Deanna can be found obsessing over boats, practicing for the World Bocce Championship with an adult libation in hand, or holding impromptu dance parties with her kids. More about Deanna can be found at www.deannafox.org.

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13 Comments on “{drink it up} The Art of the Hot Toddy”

  1. February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Not one, but five! recipes today, great!! How is your book??

  2. February 16, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    @Just A Smidgen – The book is good. I read it forever ago and sometimes go through and read my favorite passages. Faulkner is definitely one of America’s greatest writers (plus he likes toddies, so, you know, he’s okay in my book :-)

  3. February 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    YES. Hot Toddies are the best! I like to do mine with hot water, rum, a quarter of lemon, honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg :) SO GOOD.

    • February 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Cinnamon and nutmeg are great additions! They both pair really well with the rum. Glad you are in the HT fan-club :)

  4. February 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Love this! I’ve been on the hunt for a good hot toddy recipe- I think I’ll try the tea toddy soon :)

    • February 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      I totally picture you as a hot toddy drinker.

  5. February 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    During the editing process, I may have consumed two Hot Rum Toddies :) Honestly, I never knew how to make one, and I never went looking to find out how. Now, they are my favorite drink. Hands down. Making one tonight, glug glug.

    • February 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Glad you like it!! Hopefully it helps to clear out all the yuckiness that you’ve been experiencing. Have an extra swig for me tonight :)

  6. February 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    YES! I made hot toddies this week to cure a cold. Or deal with it. (The latter is most likely!!) We do bourbon + lemon + honey + hot water. <3

    My other favorite old fashioned drink is hot buttered rum. Yum. :)

    • February 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      That why Hot Toddies are cure alls – the keep physical and psychological/emotional ailments at bay :) I thought about adding a hot buttered rum recipe here, but that’s a whole different beast to tackle!

  7. julie
    February 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Ohh, now I almost want winter to last so Ihave time to try them all.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. {FSC PODCAST} episode 01: new beginnings | FROM SCRATCH CLUB - February 29, 2012

    [...] renewed the dream and decided to take the plunge. We planned and brainstormed and fretted and drank hot toddies, hoping that we weren’t completely crazy for thinking maybe, just maybe, we could whisper our [...]

  2. {from scratch holidays} Building A Home Bar 101 | FROM SCRATCH CLUB - December 12, 2012

    [...] Basic Hot Toddy [...]

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