Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy is the comforting embrace of warmth on a cold, damp day, and it’s fitting that we celebrate it on January 11.

Hot Toddy is a brother of Grog, but while Grog has a well-documented history with a known parentage, Hot Toddy’s origins remain shrouded in mystery, including the enigmatic source of its name.

A classic Hot Toddy typically combines Scotch whiskey with hot water, lemon, and honey. In the chill of 18th-century Scotland, this concoction served both as a means of warming up and as a remedy for various ailments. The Irish have their own version, known as Hot whiskey, crafted with their own distinct whiskey. This heartening elixir has been a beloved staple in cold-climate countries with less-than-efficient heating systems.

Now, as for the name “Toddy,” there’s an intriguing hypothesis that traces it back to “taddy,” an Indian palm spirit. How this Indian spirit connects to Scotch whiskey remains a puzzle, unless it harkens back to the colonial era when the British might have recalled “taddy” and its Indian spices while enhancing their hot beverages.

Another theory suggests that an Irish physician named Robert Bentley Todd may have developed Hot Toddy as a remedy for colds, leading to the drink being named after him. While it’s clear that Dr. Todd would have recommended such a soothing libation to his patients, it’s doubtful that anyone, Irish, Scotch, or English, needed a doctor’s prescription to add a generous splash of whiskey to their steaming cup. More likely, the doctor was simply employing a well-known and cherished recipe.

However, it came to be, Hot Toddy has endured as a beloved winter warmer, offering solace on chilly days.

Here’s the classic recipe, though feel free to adjust the amounts of juice, honey, and spices to suit your preferences:

-1 1/2 oz/45 ml Whiskey
-1/2 oz/15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
-1 tbsp honey
-3/4 cup boiling water
-species (clove, cinnamon, star anise and so on) according to taste

In a warmed glass mug, combine whiskey, juice, and honey. Stir in the spices, then fill the mug with boiling water. Mix thoroughly and add garnish.

Garnish – cinnamon stick (optional).

Toddy glass or glass mug.

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