Classic Hot Toddy

classic hot toddy

One of my go-to drinks in the wintertime is a classic hot toddy. I also love to drink it whenever I feel like I need something more than my usual herbal tea to wind down at the end of a long and tiring day. I have to say I'm partial to whiskey, so for me appreciating this drink is a no-brainer. I've made this drink with Irish whiskey, Scotch, and even Bourbon. Any of these options make a terrific and flavorful hot toddy. I especially love the Kentucky Bourbon version because it has those caramel and butterscotch flavors I adore.

I recently discovered that many of my friends here in Hungary, where I'm currently living, don't know what a hot toddy is. I guess somehow it's popularity didn't make it as far as eastern Europe. But those of us in the States know this drink as quite the classic evening tipple, which came from across the pond. Some say it's origin can be traced back to Ireland, whereas others disagree and stand firm that it's Scottish. Either way hot toddies have been prescribed as a cure for the flu and common cold for centuries. I don't know if there's a science to back up this claim, but I do know from experience that it has always done wonders on my sore throat!

The name toddy; however, has an interesting origin. It comes from 1600s India, where a "taddy" was a drink concocted of fermented palm sap. Eventually the name was used for any hot alcohol-based drink that was made with hot water, sugar or syrup, and a combination of spices. For example, you could make a rum hot toddy or even a gin hot toddy. Feel free to vary the alcohol to your liking, but for the classic hot toddy you'll want whiskey!

This drink is super simple to make: It's just lemon juice, honey, hot water, and whiskey. You can add spices if you like, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or star anise. Any of those would add a nice warming touch. But, in my opinion, I don't want to mask the flavor of the whiskey, which in itself can have wonderful spiced and oaky notes, depending on the quality. I won't make my hot toddy with bottom-shelf whiskey, but I won't make it with high-priced cask strength either. You'll want something that is mid-priced and flavorful, not something too harsh on the palate

Enjoy this thoroughly warming drink any night of the week, especially during the cold winter months. It not only soothes the throat, it also calms the soul! I highly recommend it.

Classic Hot Toddy

1/2 lemon, juiced
2 to 3 teaspoons honey
8 ounces hot water
1 to 2 ounces whiskey

Combine the lemon juice and honey in your favorite mug. Pour in the boiling hot water; stir to dissolve the honey. Then top it off with enough whiskey to nearly meet the top of your mug. I find that 2 ounces is ideal! Enjoy immediatley with small sips to soothe your sore throat or large gulps to soothe your weary soul. Yield: 1 refreshing hot drink.


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