Hot Toddy History
For many people, the first sip of “the hard stuff” came in the form of a sweet honey beverage served to them when they were sick. Whether those drinks have ever helped anyone to fight off a cold or sore throat stands to be debated, but the hot toddy nevertheless has made countless people feel better while they were ailing.
There are many regional variants of the hot toddy, and even different regional names for it. The most common variant is referred to as a “tottie” or “totty.” If you’re in the United Kingdom, you’re more likely to hear it called a “whiskey skin” or a “hot whiskey.”
As with many cocktails that have been served for hundreds of years, the exact origins were never recorded and are likely lost to history. Variations of the recipe were served as long ago as the 1700s, and it is believed to have originated in Scotland as a way of making whiskey taste more appealing to those who didn’t care for it.
One popular theory is that the name is in tribute to the Todian Spring, the main water supply to Edinburgh at the time. Others have attributed the name to Irish physician Robert Bentley Todd, who practiced in the mid-1800s, and was known for prescribing brandy mixed with cinnamon, sugar and water to patients who presented with cold symptoms.
Making the Drink
Whatever the case, the recipes are even more numerous than the possible origins of the name. What they all share in common is a strong liquor (such as whiskey or rum) paired with a sweetener (usually honey) and served hot, often with cloves or cinnamon and a lemon garnish.
The old-school recipe that follows is basic, but feel free to experiment and put your own twist on the formula! 1 cup hot water, 3 tbsp. whiskey or bourbon, 1 tbsp. honey, and 1 tbsp. lemon juice, or squeeze a small slice of lemon in the drink is the traditional recipe.
Basic Hot Toddy Ingredients
Hot Tea – made from tea or herbs
Spirits – Bourbon or Whiskey
Sweet – Honey, Sugar, Maple Syrup
Citrus – Lemon, Orange, Lime, Cranberry
Garnish – Fresh mint, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Apples
Spices – Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Star Anise, Ginger
Zeatea Workshop Nibbles
Hot Toddy Recipes by Zentea
Black Russian Spice Tea
Shot of Rum
Spoon of Creamed butter with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Allspice
½ teaspoon Maple Syrup
Garnish with Cinnamon Stick
Oolong with aged whiskey
Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea
Shot of quality aged whiskey or bourbon
Black Connie’s Choice Tea
Shot of Chocolate flavored whiskey
½ teaspoon white sugar
Top with whipped cream