Confessions of a Mixologist: The Penultimate Hot Toddy
Toddies are a broad class of cocktails that generally combine a spirit with water and sugar (in some form). Usually but not necessarily served hot, toddies also often include citrus, spice and/or herbs to create a soothing elixir, believed by many to ease the symptoms of the common cold and flu.
Regardless of whether you buy into their folk remedy bona fides, toddies are easy to make, provide a potent kick of booze, and happen to be quite appealing on a cold winter’s eve in the Midwest, say après shovel, or as a postprandial nightcap while cozied up, fireside.
Disclaimer: This mixologist confesses to lacking an MD1, so, we aren’t here to make any medical claims, least of all for alcohol, but we are here to share the classics and create new and exciting entries to the realm of potent potables. To that end we have attempted to build an extraordinarily delicious hot toddy, that happens to be loaded to the gills (pun intended) with folk wisdom. This mixologist also confesses to being a bit of a hard science geek, so be aware, all adjectives used to describe ingredients are based on colloquial folk claims, not necessarily the scientific method.
We started by making an infusion of stomach settling fresh ginger, anti-inflammatory cardamom, and calming chamomile. Next the honey; well documented for its antibacterial properties generally, Manuka honey in particular has been shown to be an especially potent antiseptic and is even graded on the concentration of its antibiotic components. Throw in vitamin C laden lemon juice and antioxidant cinnamon and you have what some might call a powerful tonic full of health enhancing ingredients and others may refer to as a particularly tasty snake oil.
But what is snake oil without alcohol? Our fortifier of choice is another brilliant Binny’s Handpick in a long line of brilliant Whiskey Hotline handpicks, Cedar Ridge Private Barrel Iowa Bourbon. This buttery, honeyed Bourbon is a true delight on the rocks but its high proof, orchard fruit and spice informed character also make it pert near perfect in this complexly warming context.
Speaking of pert near, although we have supreme confidence in the restorative powers of this relaxing and remedial roborant, we are cautious of letting confidence bleed over into hubris, so we have refrained from claiming it as “The Ultimate Hot Toddy” but feel no shame in saying that we are approaching toddy perfection. We encourage you to try this warming potion for yourself, even if you take all the “benefits” with a grain of salt2, if only because it is exceedingly tasty.
Cheers to everybody out there on the frozen tundra we call Bin-landia!
The Penultimate Hot Toddy
- 1” knob of fresh ginger root, sliced
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 cup water
- 1 chamomile “teabag”
- ½ oz. Manuka honey
- ¼ oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 ½ oz. Bourbon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- lemon wheel
- Add ginger, cardamom, and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8- 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add chamomile, steep 3-4 minutes.
- Strain infusion into a mug, stir in honey, lemon juice and whiskey.
- Garnish with cinnamon stick and lemon wheel. Serve hot.
- We are not a Doctor of Medicine, that is, and a Doctorate of Mixology is, thankfully, a lifelong quest that must be strived for relentlessly. We will, however, humbly accept the honorary title of PhT - Philosophical Tippler.
- An added pinch of salt would not only subtly enhance flavor but provide essential electrolytes.
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