Friday, December 11, 2015

Winter is coming and you need a hot toddy

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 9:58 AM

click to enlarge JOEL DIPIPPA
  • Joel DiPippa

It took a little longer than usual, but we have a nice chill in the air as we close out the year. When the temperature drops, we naturally look for something warm and comforting inside, and a Hot Toddy is just the thing to let you curl up at home while the frigid wind whips through the state.

First things first: In technical terms, a true Hot Toddy is only considered so if it is made with Scotch, but I don't hew that close to tradition here. This is a cocktail born of simplicity and ease when seeking comfort from cold weather, so we will start with whatever whiskey you have handy or prefer. To the whiskey, we want to add a little sweetness, some citrus, and some spice. This combination sounds a little like the Old Fashioneds we talked about, doesn't it?

The Hot Toddy brings these flavors together with boiling (or near boiling) water for a warming drink. Because you are using potentially boiling water, make sure that your glass is going to be okay with it. I wouldn't want a glass to explode in anybody's hands. At the bottom of your glass (often an Irish Coffee mug like the one pictured below) place some sweetener. I prefer to use honey, but you can just as easily use sugar or simple syrup. Add to that sweetener some spices like whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, then squeeze a little lemon juice on top and then add boiling water. By adding the water here, you can make sure that the sugar, honey, or other sweetener is incorporated by stirring before adding the liquor. Add your slug or shot of whiskey to the glass and fondly cup the warm glass in your hands.

click to enlarge JOEL DIPIPPA
  • Joel DiPippa

Hot Toddy
(Or Whiskey Skin if you must be taxonomically correct when not using Scotch)

Ingredients: 

*1.5 oz/45 ml Whiskey - Be this bourbon, rye, or the traditional Scotch
*3 oz/90 ml Boiling, or just off boiling water
*1 tsp/5 ml Honey or simple syrup
*2-4 whole cloves
*Lemon wedge
*Lemon twist for garnish

Steps:

Place the teaspoon on honey and cloves in the serving glass. Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedge into the glass and add the hot water.

Stir until the honey is dissolved and you smell the cloves in the air. Add the whiskey and stir briefly.

Garnish with a lemon twist

The beauty of the Hot Toddy is that, like many classic cocktails, it is subject to infinite variations. The reason I like to use honey is that it has a little more flavor than regular sugar so it changes the drink slightly. Each whiskey will also have slightly different qualities or characteristics for you to explore but that is just the beginning of your options.

Variations: 

Feeling like a Hot Apple Toddy? Pick up some of Rock Town Distillery's 100 Proof Apple Pie Lightning to use as your base and garnish with a dainty apple slice.

Want a little more heat in your Hot Toddy? Add a dash or two of hot sauce with the honey.

Make a variation of Grog by using a dark rum in place of whiskey here or see what happens when a reposada tequila is opened up with the hot water.

Try using some of the Arkansas made Pink House Alchemy syrups as the sweetener.

The world is your oyster, or toddy as the case may be!

Around Town

Few places around town regularly offer a Hot Toddy on the menu. Thankfully, there is one place that currently has a Hot Toddy ready and waiting for you: Ciao Baci.

click to enlarge JOEL DIPIPPA
  • Joel DiPippa

Neil at Ciao Baci added a Hot Toddy to the winter drink menu just in time. This drink, coupled with Baci's now enclosed patio could actually make you want to hang out outside this winter. Baci makes a classic Scotch based hot toddy with a little lemon juice, honey, and cloves. If you have never had a true, classic Hot Toddy with Scotch, do yourself a favor and drop by Baci. The smoky nose of the heated Scotch with the spice of the cloves is wonderful and to the last drop it warms the cockles of your heart, both literally and figuratively.

What are your favorite cold weather drinks? How do you like your Hot Toddy? Sound off in the comments below!

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