Hot Toddy Time
Friday, December 27, 2013 at 3:12PM
Layne Martin

Okay, so in the interest of full disclosure I have lived in Northern California now for 15 years.  We don't get those kind of cold nights that make people wear snuggies or write songs about sleigh bells.  But I spent the majority of my liMmmm... BUTTER!fe living in places that were cold as hell, so I grew up around men and women that made regular use of the tot toddy to warm themselves after shoveling their driveway (or ice fishing or curling, etc.). 

At its core, the toddy is a very simple drink.  Pick a spirit, add some hot water and some sweetener - and by gawd you have got yourself a hot toddy.  The trick here, as you may have guessed, is to make it taste good.  Luckily for us, each Winter a lot of good folks put forth the effort to do just that.  

As Northern California endures yet another Wintry night where the temps have sunk into the 50s, I thought that I would list out my three favorite hot toddy recipes.  Here goes...


Hot Buttered Rum
Adapted from David Wondrich's fine book Imbibe!

2 oz. Demarara rum (substitute Jamaican rum if needed)
1 oz. apple cider
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 dash ground allspice
1 dash ground cloves
1 thin slice (say 1/4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3-4 oz boiling water

Place the sugar and spices into a small tea or coffee cup.  Add the rum and cider and stir.  Drop the thin slice of butter into your cup, top off with the boiling water and serve

Now THAT is a perfect Wintertime warmer!  What's not to love?  The sweetness of apple cider with the brown sugar character of a Demarara rum.  Allspice.  Clove.  BUTTER!  


The American Hot Toddy
Liberty Bar - Seattle, WA 
Courtesy of the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Imbibe Magazine

2 oz. Laird's Applejack
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup (1:1 sugar and H2O) 
1/2 oz. Lemon Hart 151 rum
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth's pimento (allspice) dram
4 dashes orange bitters (I prefer Fee Brothers here for its cinnamon and herbal qualities)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to a boil.  Serve in a mug.  I personally chose to add a dash of nutmeg or possibly cinnamon on top.   

I like this drink primarily because I am a huge fan of pimento dram.  I love the warm, allspice flavor alongside the cidery sharpness of the hot applejack.  The extra kick from the 151-proof rum is enough to win me over.  A strong drink sufficient to stand up to even the worst night New England can muster.  


Apple Toddy
Adapted from David Wondrich's fine book Imbibe!

 2 oz. Laird's Straight Apple Brandy (bottled in bond)
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 oz. apple cider (optional)
1/2 of a baked apple (see below)
3-4 oz. boiling water
grated nutmeg (as garnish) 

Place the sugar in a heated tea or coffee cup.  Add a splash of the boiling water and stir to combine.  Add the brandy and the rest of the ingredients, stir some more.  Top with the rest of the boiling water and serve with the grated nutmeg garnish.  


Baked Apple
Peel and core an apple.  Cut the apple in half and wrap in a wet brown paper bag. Place in an oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until it is completely soft.  

Be sure to check on the bag frequently - if it gets too dry in the oven it can catch on fire.  

 This one takes a little bit of forethought - what with the baked apple and all - but it makes up for it in the finish.  Thinner and slightly more astringent than the buttered rum drink above, this one is for you if you are the old-school type that wants his warm brandy without all those hoity-toity spices and stuff.  This one takes me back to Bangor, WI circa 1993, watching my friend's dad Bob tipple on a toddy before heading down to the lanes for a few frames (of course I never partook - I was underage).

Now where do you suppose them walleye are biting this time of year?


Article originally appeared on The Ace Saloon (
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