Hot toddy: Comforting cocktail, cold remedy or both


Whether you believe this cocktail cures what ails you or is just a comforting cocktail, the hot toddy is a delightful cold weather drink.

During the chilly winter months, many people look for fun ways to warm themselves. While a trip to a tropical resort may be a lovely dream, the reality is a little harsher. While kids may gravitate to hot chocolate, a classic, comforting cocktail can be a pleasure for adults. The classic hot toddy is that cold weather cocktail.

The hot toddy has been around for hundreds of years. While the word toddy can be traced back to an Indian drink, a version of today’s classic cocktail can be traced back to Robert Bentley Todd. An Irish physician, Todd would prescribe a warm drink of brandy, cinnamon, sugar and water to cure ailments.

Hot toddy: Comforting cocktail, cold remedy or both, photo provided by Sparkling Ice

This remedy was passed down through many Irish families (including my own). I still remember my grandmother fixing herself a toddy when she felt a cold, sore throat or other health issue coming on. Who knows specifically why this cocktail remedy helped? It could be the warm, soothing liquid or the shot of liquor. It always seemed that she felt better after her remedy cocktail.

Today, hot toddies are growing in popularity. During the cold winter months, these warm, soothing cocktails seem to help ward off the bone chilling weather. The simple classic cocktail is very easy to make. Also, the cocktail can be modified to incorporate favorite flavors.

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  • To make a hot toddy, the classic ingredients are a spirit, hot water, honey (or sugar) and some spices. Traditionally, people use cinnamon or clove as the spices. While any spirit could be used, the most common choices are whiskey, brandy and rum. These spirits tend to have more robust, earthy notes that pair well with honey.

    Putting together the comforting cocktail is simple. First heat the water (or tea could be used too), to a warm, yet not scolding temperature. Prepare the glass or mug by placing honey in the bottom. Pour a shot of liquor (whichever liquor is preferred) into the glass. Slowing pour the hot liquid into the glass and stir. Garnish with whole spices, like a cinnamon stick. Now, sit back and sip away what ails you.

    If you’re looking for a twist on the tradition recipe, this cocktail recipe below is a great one. The use of Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple adds an effervescent note to the classic cocktail. Like the traditional cocktail recipe, it is easy to make.

    "Sparkling Ice Apple Hot ToddyINGREDIENTS6 oz. Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple1 ½ oz. whisky or apple brandy1 teaspoon honeyCinnamon stick, allspice cloves, and apple slices for garnishDIRECTIONSCoat the bottom of a glass coffee cup with honey. Add whisky or brandy. Heat Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple in a small sauce pot. Pour hot Crisp Apple Sparkling Ice into glass. Stir to combine ingredients. Garnish with cinnamon stick, allspice cloves, and apple slices."

    Whether you’re fighting off a scratchy throat or trying to stay warm this winter, a hot toddy is a delightful cocktail. Grab a blanket, put on some Netflix and sip away the day till Spring arrives.