This time of year, a little heat goes a long way. A steaming cup of tea or a frothy mug of hot cocoa is an easy fix, but if you want something a bit more elaborate to relax the muscles and defrost the insides, try a hot toddy. Honey infused and whiskey based, it’s always been a great remedy for a sore throat. But this old-school remedy has come a long way—so much so that Jan. 11 has been dubbed National Hot Toddy Day. (Who knew?) Classic toddy fixings include bourbon, brandy, rum or whiskey; tea, apple cider, water or cocoa; plus a sweetener (usually honey, but sugar or simple syrup also are used). Cinnamon, lemons or oranges aren’t out of the question. Or try lemonade. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste, but a warm liquid, citrus and sugar provide a toddy’s foundation. Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss put a creative spin on hot sips in their 2007 book, Hot Drinks: Cider, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Spiced Punch, Spirits. Their Candy Cane Mojito, Sassy Hot Root Beer Float and other enticing concoctions are great inspiration for some creative cold-weather cocktails of your own.
(This is about the simplest recipe around!)
• 4 tbsp. honey
• 1 pot of hot tea, perhaps with a subtle flavor, such as Earl Grey or even cinnamon
• 8 shots brandy
• 4 slices lemon
• Highball (Tom Collins) glasses
Directions: When tea is finished steeping, simply fill each glass 3/4 full. Mix in honey and brandy shots. Add lemon slice and enjoy.
By Executive Chef Thomas Groff of Dettera Restaurant in Ambler
• 2 slices fresh ginger
• 2 whole cloves
• 1/2 star anise
• 1 allspice berry
• 1 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
• 1 thin slice lemon
• 8 oz. hot English black tea
• 1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate V/X Rum
Directions: Brew tea. Pour in cup with spices. Add condensed milk and rum. Stir and serve.
• 8 oz. rum
• 4 tsp. sugar or 4 sugar cubes
• 22 oz. boiling water
• Fresh nutmeg and grater
• 4 Irish coffee mugs
Directions: Place a sugar cube or equivalent into an Irish coffee mug. Fill 2/3 full with boiling water. Add rum and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon, dust with freshly grated nutmeg, and serve.
• 1 oz. (2 tbsp.) bourbon (I suggest Maker’s Mark for its subtle sweetness.)
• 1 tbsp. honey (If you can find vanilla or orange flavored, that would be ideal.)
• 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 cup boiling water
Directions: Put bourbon, honey and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water, and stir until honey is dissolved.