Friday, December 9, 2011

Make Your Perfect Hot Toddy

As the season cools down and rainy weather inevitably turns to snow, there are few things more satisfying than a warm, strong drink. And whether you're feeling a little down with a cough or cold, or just want to warm up your cold fingers and nose, one of the best ways to ward off the chill is with a Hot Toddy.

There are a number of stories as to where this delicious drink originated - from the Indian term for a fermented palm tree sap drink, to Edinburgh's water source of Tod's Well - but regardless of the origin, it's delicious in most of its iterations. Their combination of warmth, slight sweetness, and citrus brightness is just what's called for while waiting for spring.

We've seen these available more and more in Brooklyn bars and restaurants during the fall and winter months, but it's an incredibly easy drink to enjoy at home after a cold day with some very simple mixing. If you have a fireplace to sip by, all the better.

Grab a spoon, some hot water, and your favorite mug. We'll take it from there.

The Classic Scottish Recipe
This original version of the Hot Toddy is simple, straightforward, and tasty. This is a boozier recipe, best suited to those who like to taste their whisk(e)y. All you'll need is about a teaspoon of Demerara sugar, a lemon peel, 2 ounces of the Scotch whisky of your choice (we'd like a generously-peated Islay malt, but it's hard to go wrong here), and boiling water. Combine in your mug, and sip away. 

The Classic English Recipe
Throw some black tea leaves in that boiling water for a few minutes before combining it with the other ingredients. Cheerio, you've discovered the other basic version. 

The Variations
From those simple beginnings has come a whole host of interpretations of this popular tipple, and while we’re generally biased toward classic cocktails, we've sipped some delicious, creative versions of this drink that will warm you down to your toes. A few easy swaps: try using honey, maple syrup or agave syrup instead of sugar, or add homemade flavored syrups created with ginger or quince. Throw in some of your favorite sweet spices like whole cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel and allspice. If you like the English original, try swapping in different types of flavored and herbal teas. And though it might seem blasphemous to purists, some love these warm drinks made with Bourbon, brandy, or even rum. With lots of cold days ahead, you can mix to your heart's content.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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