Since I have been focusing on hot beverages I thought I would continue this week with something very familiar to us Wisconsinites—The Hot Toddy. Traditionally served around the holiday season this warm libation changes slightly with its demographic.
The Hot Toddy, or Hot Whiskey as it’s known in Scotland, uses liquor-usually whisky, rum or brandy,honey, water, and a mixture of spices. The drink is served hot and often as a nightcap. From its origin in the 18th century it has been known to be served as a remedy for the cold or flu. One account credits Dr. Robert Bentley Todd as the inventor of this drink. He would prescribe the drink to his clients when they feeling under the weather, hence the name Hot Toddy. It is said that the honey sooths the throat and the liquor numbs the pain.
In Wisconsin the drink is made with brandy instead of bourbon. This is also true for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and some other areas of the Midwest. People in Ontario change it up by adding ginger ale. And, like I noted above, the Scottish drink it with their famous whiskey.
I have tried Hot Toddies myself, and I find them very enjoyable-especially on a cold winter day. Last year on Christmas day my family decided to go on vacation leaving me all alone. Luckily my friend, Caina, was also abandoned by her loved ones, so we decided to make festive drinks and keep the Christmas spirit alive. I did not have all the ingredients for a Hot Toddies so, like the mixologist that I am, I improvised. Using whiskey, lemon vodka, cider spices and honey I made my own concoction that I call the Hot Amber. I would suggest this version for sure, but don’t drink too many; they can sneak up on you.
No matter what the version, or where in the world you are drinking them, Hot Toddies (or the lesser known, but still as relevant, Hot Amber’s) are a delicious way to add some warmth to your holiday festivities and your cheeks. Have you had a different variation of the warm beverage? Let us know what it was and where you had it?
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