Beverage & Bar Features
Hot Toddy Season
Hot Scotch Toddy Photographed on Fiesta Dinnerwareby Trish Bales
It's still winter out there-cold and dark. But I know of a fine way to keep warm -- a hot toddy.
I know the name is old-fashioned, but don't let that bother you. Our elders knew the medicinal benefits of a hot toddy. We recognize the benefits of this age-old classic and enjoy the taste at the same time. The combination of inner warmth and flavor a hot toddy provides inside cannot be matched by any other concoction I know of.
In cold, European climates, hot drinks are common in pubs, bars and restaurants. For centuries, village pubs and taverns featured a central fireplace where customers could come in to take the chill off. They served their shivering clientele mulled wine, warm ales, liquor-enhanced coffee drinks and warm scotch whiskey punches. When immigrants arrived along the eastern seaboard, they brought with them the tradition of consuming warm drinks rather than cold ones.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the prohibition movement was gaining strength. One of the most prevalent and powerful churches of America took a staunch position against the sale or imbibing of ardent spirits "unless in cases of extreme necessity". Well, I would imagine that for some, and under certain circumstances, the hot toddy was an extreme necessity.
The word toddy may have originated in the East Indies in the form of "tarries", the seventeenth-century word for a drink made from fermented palm juice. Most toddies use Scotch whisky as their base. But they can be made with most spirits, as you will see in the recipes below.
Make sure the glasses you choose are heatproof and warm them before pouring in the liquids. Heatproof glasses are available in a range of sizes and styles, from cups to goblets and tall glasses for Irish coffee. But if you don't have any of these glasses, don't let that deter you. A regular old coffee mug will do just fine.
The traditional Hot Toddy was initially invented to soothe a sore throat and possibly halt a sickness coming on. Lemon juice, for its citrus and Vitamin C benefits, honey, for its throat-coating qualities, and alcohol for its relaxing and cough-suppressing traits, constitute the original Hot Toddy.
I prefer a more refined Hot Toddy recipe such as this one:
Put the sugar, bitters, lemon juice, and clove-studded lemon slice in the glass. Add the Scotch and pour in the boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Now, that's medicine!Fills one glass.
Prep time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 5 minutes; Total time: 10 minutes
Royale CoffeeIrish Coffee is the most popular hot coffee drink in the world. Of course, this drink uses Irish whiskey, but there are numerous variations. Here are a few:
Hot Buttered RumHigh on the slopes in ski resorts around the country, the popular hot drink is Hot Buttered Rum. Here' s a complete recipe:
English BishopThis is a port-wine drink, made with baked oranges and served hot. Serves six.
Over a very low flame, simmer gently for 15-20 minutes - do not boil or the flavor of the port will be spoiled. Serve in warm cups.
Colonial BoyEver heard of a tea-based toddy? Here's one certainly worth trying and guaranteed to change your experience of "afternoon tea".
Brown BettyEven beer can serve as a hot toddy. It's delicious and warmly satisfying.
AlhambraFinally, a toddy made with hot chocolate. Maybe if dessert were skipped, this sweet drink would suffice.
So take your pick. Fix yourself a hot toddy, and you won't have to sit so close to the fire.
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