If you checked out this week’s Dig column, you know we are hot for Hot Toddy’s this week. This is for several reasons:
1. The weather has been sucking.
2. Some of us have been battling colds and still believe the toddy, when made with brandy or a peat-y scotch whisky, to be actual medicine.
3. Hot Toddy is the chosen cocktail moniker of one of our newest members! Welcome to the Lady Lush club, girl!
We also mentioned in this week’s column that the Skin, the Sling, and the Sangaree are cousins of the Toddy (which could be taken hot or cold back in the day.) Such names! In a nutshell, here’s what makes each drink, and what makes them a little different (as explained in great, enlightening detail in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE):
- The basic Toddy recipe, as given in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE, was believed to be of Scotch descent and was quite simple: 1 teaspoon sugar, 3-4 oz water, 2 oz spirits, stirred with a spoon. Writes Wondrich, the toddy “is a simple drink in the same way a tripod is a simple device: Remove one leg and it cannot stand, set it up properly and it will hold the whole weight of the world.”
- The Whisky Skin is little more than a Hot Toddy + a strip of lemon peel, minus the sugar and is believed to be of Irish origin: 2 oz whiskey, 1 piece of lemon peel, fill the glass half full with boiling water. Bostonians also called this drink a “Columbia Skin.”
- The Sling is little more than a strong, cold Toddy with nutmeg: 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 1 oz water, 2 oz spirits, a lump of ice, topped with fresh grated nutmeg. In the early- to mid-1800s, the Gin Sling was the drink to have, imbibed by all, and recommended for consumption morning, noon, and night.
- The Sangaree derives from the Spanish term Sangria, and is little more than a cold Toddy made with strong wine: 1.5 oz port wine, 1 teaspoonful of sugar, fill tumbler 2/3 with ice, shake well and top with grated nutmeg.
So go forth and make copious amounts of delicious drinks this holiday season, wherever it is that you end up. Because no matter how dismal things might seem when you open Grandma’s liquor cabinet and find a bunch of dusty bottles staring back at you, the moral of the story is: some booze in a glass with a little water and some spice and is probably going to taste pretty damn good.
And for you culinary folks, why not try a Hot Buttered Rum? Yum. Here’s Dale DeGroff’s recipe:
HOT BUTTERED RUM
1 oz dark rum or spiced rum
1 oz light rum
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 tablespooon Holiday Compound Butter (below)
Cinnamon stick for garnish
In a goblet glass, combine the dark and light rums with the syrup. Add the hot water and stir to mix. Add the butter, stir a couple of times to start to melt it, and garnish with the cinnamon stick.
HOLIDAY COMPOUND BUTTER
The yield here is huge – scale/adjust accordingly*** depending on how many of these you want to drink.
Soften 1 lb unsalted butter in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground allspice, .5 tsp cloves, and .25 cup dark brown sugar. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Using a sheet of wax paper, form the butter mixture into a log or rectangle – your choice – and place in the refrigerator to set. When the butter is firm you can slice it into individual serving pats of .5 tablespoon apiece, or just cut up as needed to serve. Either way let the butter soften and warm up before serving.
***I have the vague sense that you could add some amount of baking powder, egg, flour and vanilla to the leftovers and make some sort of cookies. Maybe something like these?