With the holidays behind us but plenty of cold weather yet to come, we’ve got the perfect way to warm the days on the long road to spring. January 11th is National Hot Toddy Day, celebrating a toasty and comforting drink that has been enjoyed in various forms since the 1700’s. The Hot Toddy’s origins are a bit mysterious, with some cocktail historians pointing to Scottish origins and others tracing the drink all the way back to India, but without doubt it gained both popularity and its entree into American culture via the British Isles.
The classic Toddy was served so that guests could combine spirits, hot water, and sweetener to their own tastes, typically at the end of meals during long cold winters. As the drink has evolved it has taken on as many forms and flavors as there are Hot Toddy drinkers, but for many tea has become the classic center of this cold weather tradition.
By pairing the different flavor profiles of tea with the individual character of spirits and sweeteners, drinkers can create a perfect blend to enjoy in any setting or cure any ailment (with it’s mix of soothing tea and numbing alcohol, all in a tasty package, the Hot Toddy is a classic treatment for the common cold).
We’ve enjoyed spicy Chai Tea with the richness of dark rum and the Anglo-inspired duo of Earl Grey and whiskey, but for a first taste of all the Hot Toddy’s possibilities you can start with this recipe for a classic Chamomile Toddy that captures the essence of what makes this drink so enjoyable.
So brew a pot, raise your glass, and join us in a warm and toasty toast to National Hot Toddy Day!
1½ ounce Brandy
½ ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
4 ounces hot brewed Chamomile tea
Grated nutmeg (optional)
Add the first five ingredients to mug. Top with the Chamomile tea, and garnish with grated nutmeg, if desired.
Recipe courtesy of the Tabard Inn, Washington, D.C. via Wine Enthusiast