Restaurants + Cocktails

Few things are as soothing on a blustery night as that “hug in a mug,” the hot toddy. But back in the day (like, the 1700s) making a hot toddy didn’t just signify that chilly weather had inspired a boozy warmer-upper. In the far reaches of drinks history, one’s toddy of choice often expressed a person’s cultural and economic context as well as their current geography.

The hot toddy’s classic construction approximated a three-legged barstool—with a wobbly base of booze, hot water, and sweetener— and pre-dates even the term “cocktail.”

Irish folks drank hot whiskey with a bit of lemon peel (called a “skin”) if they could find it, while Scots preferred warming up Highland malt whisky and topping it with a scant grating of nutmeg. The Brits even mixed gin in their toddies. Most households used honey as their sweet, while the wealthy indulged in white sugar. And across the pond as early as the 1750s, New Englanders sourced abundant Applejack (distilled apple cider) and maple syrup to make “Yankee Slings.” Southerners had rum, rye whiskey, or bourbon, to which they mixed hot water with sugar, blackstrap molasses or honey. If you were really flush, you’d make your toddy with French Brandy. Ooh, la la!

As toddies moved across the U.S. West, the alcohol-to-water ratio tipped dramatically towards higher proofing, and the sweet portion dropped a bit. This was often supplemented by citrus picked up in the warm Southwest, most abundant in winter months. Tequila toddies, anyone?

Mark Twain called his nightly Hot Scotch, “the only soporific worth considering,” especially on a cold mountain evening. We heartily agree.

Classic Hot Toddy (makes one)

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 ounces hot water

Method*: To an 8-ounce mug, add the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. Stir with the cinnamon stick until the honey is dissolved. Add hot water to the mug, and stir until combined. Add more sweetener or citrus to taste.

*The Hot Toddy has endless variations of boozy bases, sweeteners (syrup, honey, sorghum, agave nectar), and give or take a bit of spice or zing of citrus. Think of it more like a ratio than a recipe, and tinker with abandon! Try adding a grating of nutmeg, a star anise pod, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dusting of flaky sea salt if you’re feeling especially sassy.

    please continue to support local restaurants and bars with your patronage if you can afford to do so. Contribute to the Tip Your Server campaign, and check out the Support Local Dining directory for screaming deals (lots of BOGO, but the restaurants get to keep the matching funds – a win-win!) at some of our favorite local spots.

     

    Similar Posts

    We like to share new stories, and it seems you like to read 'em. Here are some more we think you'll like:
    Return to all Stories
    Restaurants + Cocktails
    Aprés Ski Spots
    1/6/2021 | Katie Bald
    It's a universal truth that nothing warms fingers, toes, and nose quite like an aprés bite of comfort food. Here's a round-up of our favorite places to fuel up (and—as COVID is still very much a thing—to grab a bite to go) after the slopes...
    Read More
    Kerri Fukui
    Restaurants + Cocktails
    2020 | A Year in Food
    12/31/2020 | Ryan Holbrook
    Restaurants, bars, and other service industry businesses remain a focal point for those trying to minimize the pandemic damage done to cities across the country, and, locally, we’ve seen plenty of innovative initiatives geared towards helping out SLC’s food scene; Organizations like Tip Your...
    Read More
    Kerri Fukui
    Restaurants + Cocktails
    Our Go-To Takeout Recommendations
    12/3/2020 | Ryan Holbrook
    These last months have put cooking skills the world over to the test. We’ve certainly been doing our fair share of sautéing during the pandemic, but for those not so accustomed to this much stovetop time, home-cooking can be taxing in its own right...
    Read More

    Newsletter

    Success! We'll get you on the list in short order! You can expect all future Friday mornings to be something of a dream...
    a fresh dose of city culture, new listings, and top-shelf design will land squarely on your virtual doorstep.

    We need to talk.

    It'll be fun. You've got questions, and we can't wait to answer them. Don't hold back--getting down to brass tacks is kind of our thing...


    Done. That was probably an excellent question, and we're ready to help. Hang tight...someone at cityhomeCOLLECTIVE will get back to you in a flash.