As winter weather becomes colder, many people will turn to a Hot Toddy to warm those snowy evenings or to ease the symptoms of a cold. There has always been a tradition of drinking a hot toddy when a person has a head cold and wants something to ease the congestion and help them sleep. In its basic form, a hot toddy is simply whiskey, honey, lemon juice and hot water. There are as many recipes for the hot toddy as there are bartenders. Everyone makes their own using different spirits in the drink. I thought I would look at some of these recipes from my archive.
Jerry Thomas in his book Bartenders Guide or How to Mix Drinks, published in 1887, has several recipes for Toddys.
Apple Toddy: Take one large teaspoon of fine white sugar dissolved in a little boiling water. I wine glass of cider brandy (apple), ½ baked apple. Fill a medium bar glass two-thirds full of boiling water, stir up, and grate a little nutmeg on top. Serve with a spoon.
Hot Brandy Toddy: Take 1 teaspoon of fine white sugar, I wine glass of brandy, Dissolve the sugar in a little boiling water, add the brandy, and pour in boiling water until the glass is two thirds full. Grate a little nutmeg on top.
Hot Gin Toddy: Take I teaspoon of powdered white sugar, I wine glass of Holland or Old Tom Gin (as preferred). Dissolve the sugar in boiling water, add the gin, pour boiling water into the glass until two thirds full.
Cold Whiskey Toddy: Take 1 teaspoon of fine white sugar, 1 wine glass of Bourbon or Rye whiskey, 1 lump of ice. Dissolve sugar in the water, add whiskey and ice and stir with a spoon. To make Hot Whiskey Toddy, dissolve sugar in boiling water, omit the ice, and pour boiling water into the glass, until it is two-thirds full.
The 1911 Beverages De Luxe magazine has a recipe for:
Old Fashioned Kentucky Apple Toddy or Apple Jack: Select one dozen apples and core, but do not peel. Bake dry until nearly done, then pour on them one pint of scalding water and one heaping pint of granulated sugar. Let cook done, scorching a little brown on the bottom. Pour all in a bowl and add one quart Bourbon whiskey and one quart apple brandy. One half nutmeg grated. A small pinch of brown cloves. The grated peel of one orange (using only the very yellow part, none of the white). Add water to suit taste of drinker. Serve hot in small sherbet glasses.
The Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide of 1957 gives the following recipes for Hot Toddys:
Brandy Toddy (hot): Put a lump of sugar into hot whiskey glass and fill with two-thirds boiling water. Add 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston California Brandy. Stir and decorate with a slice of lemon. Grate nutmeg on top.
Gin Toddy (hot): Put a lump of sugar into hot whiskey glass and fill with two-thirds boiling water. Add 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Dry Gin. Stir and decorate with a slice of lemon. Grate nutmeg on top.
Hot Brick Toddy: Into Hot Whiskey glass, put: 1 teaspoon Butter, 1 teaspoon Powdered Sugar, 3 pinches cinnamon, 1 oz. hot water, and dissolve thoroughly. The add 1 ½ oz. Old Mr. Boston Rye or Bourbon Whiskey. Fill with boiling water and stir.
Rum Toddy (hot): Put a lump of sugar into hot whiskey glass and fill with two-thirds boiling water. Add 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Imported Rum. Stir and decorate with a slice of lemon. Grate nutmeg on top.
Whiskey Toddy (hot): Put a lump of sugar into hot whiskey glass and fill with two-thirds boiling water. Add 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Rye or Bourbon Whiskey. Stir and decorate with a slice of lemon. Grate nutmeg on top.
These recipes do call for a lemon garnish and reflect the introduction of lemon in the hot toddy.
There are 21st century recipes to be looked at as well. In The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler, there are two recipes for hot toddys.
Feel Better Kentucky Bourbon Toddy: 6 ounces boiling water, 2 ounces of Bourbon of your choice, 1 ounce brown sugar syrup or undiluted sourwood honey, 4 dashes bitters, 1 ounce fresh orange juice, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1 ounce fresh lime juice. Pour boiling water into a heat-proof mug, ad the other ingredients, and stir well.
Hotty Toddy: 6 ounces boiling water, 2 ounces spice infused Bourbon, ¾ ounce brown sugar syrup, ½ ounce fresh lemon juice, large lemon twist. Pour boiling water into a heat-proof mug. Add the other ingredients and serve with a straw.
Molly Wellmann, in her book Handcrafted Cocktails, has a recipe that harkens back to Jerry Thomas’ Apple Toddy for inspiration:
Apple Butter Toddy: 2 ounces Bourbon,2 bar spoons of apple butter, 2 bar spoons of vanilla simple syrup, dash of allspice bitters, hot water to top. In a heat resistant glass (such as a mug), add the Bourbon, apple butter and vanilla syrup and stir. Add bitters.Top with hot water and stir. Garnish with apple wedge and cinnamon stick.
Here are several recipes for making hot toddys. If you get a cold or simply are looking for a warm cocktail this winter, please do try one of these recipes or create your own. Please let me know how it tasted and if it cured your cold.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller
January 17, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Perfect timing! We’re expecting our first sub-zero low tomorrow here in Maine. Thanks! (Shared on FB)
January 18, 2020 at 12:15 am
I am glad it was a timely post for you.