Hot Toddy?

7th Dec 2006

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Feeling a little bit under the weather and a bit perturbed with my job, I returned home last night needing some kind of a cure.  Like hot chocolate made by your mother, I needed a home remedy with exactly zero medicinal value, which would warm me up and send me straight to bed.  I didn't have any chocolate, but I did have a great big bottle of Bourbon and one idea.

I wanted a hot toddy, even if I wasn't sure what that was.  I was too preoccupied with my own pain to care about the excruciatingly boring wikipedia entry .   Apparently, this is some kind of grandmother cure, but my family never gave me whiskey to cure anything.

So how does one make such a thing?  Like any mixed drink, there are many variations and only three rules, which probably could be upended if you so dared.  The first and only rule, that I completely agree with is, that there needs to be some alcohol--or there is simply nothing toddy about that hotty.  That's just me.  Second, there needs to be a hot liquid, whether that's water, tea, or another beverage.  Third, some sweetening is needed to tie the two previous "rules" together.

But that's really it.  As far as what the best recipe, the web was littered with all kinds of history lessons claiming tea was absolutely needed, or that hot water was just fine.  Nutmeg, lemon, and cinnamon entered the picture.  But this was not the time when I wanted to go surfing around for some hilarious antedote.  Check out that wikipedia entry, see if you can make any sense of it.  Me, I needed a warm drink with a great big hug, so instead of trying figure out which combination would work best for me, I decided to have them all.

The Alcohol

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I've been in quite the Bourbon mood lately.  Here's some wonderful stuff I scored at LeNell's .  Apparently you can use rum, too, but I wasn't leaving my apartment.

  • 1 Shot

The Hot Liquid

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I gathered up the tea we had littered around the apartment and I came up with three contenders, plusthe  plain old water recipe to round it out.

  1. Twinnings English Afternoon Tea
  2. Lipton
  3. Biglow Constant Comment
  4. Water

    • 3/4 cup

The Sweetening

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Nothing says sweet comfort quite like the dear honey bear.

  • 1 tablespoon

Other Things I Added

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  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

The Verdict

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Four hot toddys later I was feeling all right.  Gone was the incessant headache, all those feelings of discomfort and worthlessness. I was so content I nearly forgot about writing this little post, and instead sat on the couch with an enormous grin on my face and a blanket around my bod.  But since I needed to get this thing done, here's what I learned.

  1. Twinnings English Afternoon Tea
    This was a powerhouse, with extra strong tea flavor.  It was so strong everything else was canceled out except the strong alcohol punch.  It was uneven and not really worth ruining perfectly good Bourbon.
  2. Lipton
    This blended together much better, but I don't really care for Lipton, so this wasn't really  it--still didn't add that much.
  3. Bigelow Constant Comment
    This tea had hints of orange and "sweet spice," whatever that is, and actually enhanced the flavor of the drink instead of holding it back.  For tea lovers, this might be it.  I still thought there was a little too much going on.
  4. Water
    But in the end it was the water.  The honey and lemon soothed your throat while the bourbon gave a big hug.  I don't think I've ever felt so content, or maybe that was the feeling of all the hot toddys rolling around in my stomach.

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So, I learned I don't really fancy any tea in mine.  But don't let me dissuade you from creating your own.  This is a comfort drink, and whatever ingredients soothe your soul, you should go for.  Because, this really isn't a mixed drink or a cocktail.  People don't get all dressed up and down hot toddys till the sun comes up.  Save this drink for when the pressure hits.  Besides, the moment you're feeling better you'll need to stop wasting such perfectly good bourbon.

Any other ideas?


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