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3 Ways to Elevate Your Hot Toddy

The hot toddy has consistently been the go-to cold-weather cocktail, and it's easy to see why. This whiskey-centric drink, balancing sweetness and sourness, works wonders in providing a comforting warmth from head to toe during a frosty winter day.

While the exact origins of the hot toddy remain a topic of debate, its use as a home remedy to alleviate cough or sore throat symptoms dates back centuries. With the soothing properties of honey, the vitamin C boost from lemon juice, and the numbing effect of whiskey, this elixir proves formidable against the common cold.

Classic Hot Toddy

Yet, hot toddies aren't just a remedy; they also stand as a flavorful cocktail that brings warmth to your core and perfectly satisfies during the brisk winter months. The classic hot toddy recipe involves hot water, whiskey, lemon juice, and honey – a simple concoction that stands strong on its own. However, for those seeking an extra kick, here are some excellent ways to elevate your hot toddy experience.

Opt For a Different Spirit

While whiskey is the traditional choice for hot toddies, there's no need to stick to the norm. You can easily substitute it with other dark liquors like brandy, spiced rum, bourbon, or cognac without significantly altering the drink's flavor. For a lighter twist, quality vodka, gin, absinthe, or light rum work well too.

Explore the world of flavored liquors to customize your hot toddy. Consider fruit-forward schnapps, cinnamon whiskey, or any flavored vodka for a unique touch. Experimenting with various spirits opens up possibilities for international flavors – mix lime or orange juice with tequila for a Mexican hot toddy, or swap whiskey for sake and add grated ginger for a Japanese-inspired cocktail.

Spiced Hot Toddy

Spice It Up

While cinnamon sticks, orange peel, and cloves are common hot toddy garnishes, you can elevate the experience with more inventive spice combinations. Enhance the cocktail with aromatic spices like star anise, cardamom, turmeric, or coriander. Add heat with spicy peppercorn, cayenne, or chile. For a refreshing twist, incorporate lighter herbs such as mint, rosemary, or lemongrass. Don't hesitate to experiment with savory herbs like bay leaves, basil, or thyme for a unique lemon and whiskey blend.

Infusing these herbs or spices follows a simple process: add them to room-temperature water, bring to a boil, steep until aromatic and darker, then strain before combining with whiskey, honey, and lemon.

Infuse with Tea Instead of Water

Give your hot toddy a flavor boost by replacing traditional water with tea. Almost any tea can substitute for water, but consider the pairing with your chosen liquor. Darker teas like English breakfast, chai, or Earl Grey complement darker liquors, while lighter teas offer a refreshing contrast. Boil the tea, steep until aromatic, strain, and combine with whiskey, honey, and lemon for a tea-infused hot toddy.


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