Yup, cold and flu season is in full swing. Winter is upon us.
Hot Toddy to the rescue!
Generally speaking, no two Hot Toddies are the same. Your most-general base is: a hot liquid, sweetener, lemon, and alcohol of choice. After that, the world is yours…
For the hot liquid, some are content with hot water, others utilize a myriad of different teas, even saw a guy make one with coffee as the base a few years back (kind of a hybrid Irish Coffee/Hot Toddy). Mulled apple cider is another great choice. Basically, if it’s hot and in liquid form, it’s up to you to decide what you like.
Sweeteners also range in selection based on personal preference. While honey seems most widely used, agave syrup, simple syrup, brown sugar, and raw sugar cubes can be utilized. Artificial sweeteners aren’t our thing, but we’ve seen them used as well (based on dietary needs and/or personal preference).
Zing It Up
Lemon is a standard if you partake in citrus in your Toddy. That’s not to say an orange or lime wouldn’t be applicable in some cases (generally guided by the base alcohol – more on that in a moment), but by far and wide, lemon is the way to go. Now, what type of lemon is really up to the person enjoying this healing beverage. Eureka? Meyer? Buddha’s Hand? Lisbon? All up to you!
Now, The Good Stuff
Alcohol. Time to kill that bacteria plaguing your chest and sinuses, but what to choose? Whisky, Whiskey, Rye, Bourbon, and Scotch will probably top most recipes out there, but we’ve seen variations with Vodka, Tequila (silver to extra añejo), Fernet, Gin, Rum, Amaro, Mulled Red Wine, Spiced White Wine, Mead…pretty much anything. For all the variance in a Hot Toddy (personal or regional), the alcohol choice is the driver. The aforementioned top selections all pair well with lemon, so does Mead or Spiced White Wine, Gin as well, but Gin and Tequila go great with limes. Some prefer their Rye with an orange as opposed to lemon to cut the astringency of Rye, or an orange with Mulled Red Wine, because that’s an awesome combo! Same goes for sweeteners, Tequila calls for agave syrup by nature, while different sweetener variations match the “brown liquors” better, and good ‘ol classic white sugar goes great with wine (see: Sangria). Different hot liquid bases work differently with each alcohol selection. Earl Grey tea and Gin is a winning combo for example, and Tequila really opens up with hot water, same for Bourbon, but Bourbon also goes incredibly well with Chamomile tea. In the cases of Mead and wines, they can be warmed as they are, no extra water or tea necessary, just some mulling spices while you warm them if you like. Again, the alcohol selection drives the Hot Toddymobile, all the passengers are subject to the driver’s whims.
On to the Fixins!
From this point forward, the world is yours (i.e. the finishing touches):
Shaken or stirred? Strained or unfiltered? Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, egg whites, special herbs and powders? You name it! In the cocktail world, the technique and garnish are everything. Same exact recipe with a different preparation method and garnish can make an entirely different drink, and in this case, assist differently in what ails ya.
So, Happy National Hot Toddy Day! Here’s to gettin’ better – or having one just because.