The Hot Toddy
Last weekend, we had our first snow here in New York City. It was a bitter, windy night on Saturday when I wandered into one of my favorite bars, chilled to the bone. This bar has an amazing cocktail menu, blending the best of classic cocktails and modern mixology, but as much as I wanted a drink, the idea of something shaken with ice at the moment was almost unbearable. What I wanted was a hot toddy.
Fortunately, I was in a high-end establishment where, despite not being on the menu, the bartender was kind enough to oblige my request. But there’s no need to venture out into the cold, wind and snow in order to achieve the satisfaction a hot toddy can bring. This is one of the easiest cocktails in the world to whip up at home.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
4-6oz hot water
1 bar spoon of honey
3-4 whole cloves
Lemon wedge for garnish
A cinnamon stick
Grated fresh ginger
Boil some water in a tea kettle. In a tempered glass or ceramic mug (something resistant to heat), add your bourbon, cloves and honey. When the water is hot, add that to the glass as well, and garnish with a lemon wedge (which I tend to promptly drop into my hot toddy to add a bit of citrus.)
As always, this recipe is just a basic template, and on its own fits the bill just fine for me. But there’s lots of room for experimentation and adjustment here. Many people will add a cinnamon stick whole, or perhaps grate some fresh cinnamon on top to garnish. You could also add some grated fresh nutmeg (which really brings out the holiday feel) or ginger (which adds a nice spice, and is also good for an upset stomach.) It’s really just a matter of taste.
Whatever your preference, this is the cocktail I constantly crave on cold winter’s nights. I’m also convinced (despite a total lack of fact to back this up) that the hot toddy is the cure for the common cold.