Hot Toddy How To
Hot toddies are so simple they don’t really need instructions. Whiskey, sugar, hot water, nutmeg and possibly a slice of lemon have been fortifying folks through the winter months since at least the mid-eighteenth century.
That said, there are a few things that make a difference. Good whiskey’s one. Scotch, bourbon, rye, Irish—it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s good. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. I happened to have a Four Roses Single Barrel on hand, but Four Roses Yellow Label and Buffalo Trace are two of my favorite bourbons, and both ring in under $20. Clontarf Irish whiskey and Grant’s blended Scotch are other tasty options in that range.
Sugar’s another issue. Plain white works well enough, but I prefer the more robust flavor of raw. The more adventurous can try honey, agave or brown sugar. Liqueurs like Domaine de Canton ginger, Dumante pistachio and Bärenjäger honey add sweetness with a bit of a twist, not to mention an added punch.
Water… well… if you can boil it, you’ll get along just fine. A sprinkle of nutmeg to finish things off is nice, especially if it’s freshly grated, but I’d skip it if you’re using lemon. I included some other “toddy tips” in my piece in today’s Kansas City Star (Spirits of the Season), along my favorite recipe: combine 1-1/2 ounces whiskey, 1-1/2 teaspoons raw sugar and 6 ounces hot water in a mug, stir and then grate a little nutmeg over the top.