Think hot toddies are reserved for only the coldest of cold days of winter? Think again! Call me antsy, but the the minute it's the least bit chilly, my go-to cocktail starts heating up. Move over pumpkin spice latte, it's toddy season!
As we say goodbye to the zesty, refreshing cocktails of summer (I'm looking at you, gin and tonic), nothing quite hits the spot like a super lemony hot toddy. In my house, we like to further convince ourselves of the medicinal wonders of the toddy — it's cold season's little fix-all for sniffles and coughs alike! However, we promise it's just as satisfying if you think of it for what it truly is: a delicious cocktail.
So what's in a toddy anyway? Toddy purists insist that at it's core this cocktail is made of whiskey, hot water, and sugar. Many recipes have come to include a lemon peel, and in fact we prefer a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. As for the sugar, we quite favor the caramel notes of honey or maple syrup. Simple as that — water, whiskey, lemon, honey.
Nowadays, we see the word toddy slapped onto all sorts of hot cocktails, and there are variations galore. As a kid, my father often made his with tea and bourbon. Occasionally, I'll stir up one with dark rum and a cinnamon stick. Want to really lean in to fall flavors with your toddy? Substitute Laird's Applejack for the whiskey, and add star anise and whole cloves to the steep.
Looking for a few recipes? Check out our series, The Toddy Project:
Tip: For maximum enjoyment of your hot toddy, curl up on the sofa with your favorite blanket and a good book, or savor one of the last crisp, but not yet freezing evenings outside.
What's your go-to cocktail to warm up in the fall, hot or otherwise?
(Images: Nancy Mitchell; Kate Gagnon)