DOTW: Hot Toddy

Posted by Anita on 02.08.08 12:01 PM

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**The fall that Cameron and I started dating was a brutal season. Everyone we knew seemed to have one of those colds that catches you in its grip and refuses to let go. The sound of coughing and sneezing was everywhere, and it seemed like the whole city of San Francisco had a red nose and bags under its eyes.

That was the first time — though certainly not the last — that I heard Cameron describe his favorite cold remedy, the Two-Hat Cure: “Grab a bottle of whiskey and put your hat at the foot of the bed. Get into bed, pile the blankets high, and take a good long pull of whiskey. Keep drinking until you see two hats.” It may not cure your cold, exactly, but you definitely won’t care.

In all seriousness, medical experts tell us to exercise caution when drinking while under the weather: Alcohol can dehydrate your already overtaxed system, and many over-the-counter medications are downright dangerous with booze. But even our grandmothers knew that there’s definitely a time and a place for the medicinal powers of whiskey. Especially when combined with sugar or honey, it has the power to calm coughs and soothe raspy throats. Adding warm water or juice helps adjust for the dehydration factor and alleviate sinus congestion. And its sedative effects can give over-exhausted bodies the push they need to get some much-needed Z’s.

In short, a Hot Toddy is just the ticket when you’re feeling under the weather. It’s one of those highly adaptable recipes — CocktailDB alone lists more than 20 variations — but nearly every Toddy follows a simple formula: Combine a shot of (usually brown) liquor and a sweetener (sugar, honey); fill the glass with warm water (or cider, juice, etc.), and garnish with complementary aromatics; traditional choices include lemon wedges, orange peel, and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves. The less-commonly-seen cold toddy follows the same basic model, but is served in a rocks glass over ice.

Mixology Monday 24 = VariationsWhile spending the last two-plus weeks battling a world-class cold and its aftereffects — and in the spirit of month’s edition of Mixology Monday hosted by the fine Mr. Patrick at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour — I’ve been exploring a number of variations in the key of Toddy. I started with bourbon, honey, and orange peel; I sampled brandy, lemon juice, and sugar; I tried rum with brown sugar, cloves, and nutmeg. But my favorite flavor combo includes a strong slug of 100-proof applejack, sweetened with unbleached sugar cubes and garnished with a stick of Mexican cinnamon and star anise. After all, if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I’m all for it.

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**

Hot Apple Toddy
1oz to 2oz applejack (or brandy, whiskey, etc.)
1 to 2 natural sugarcubes
hot water
Garnishes: cinnamon stick (preferrably Mexican canela), star anise, or other warm spices; lemon wedge, apple slice, orange peel, etc.

Place the sugar and applejack in the bottom of an Irish coffee mug. Add hot water to fill, stir to dissolve sugar, and garnish as desired.

Drink of the Week, drinks, Mixology Monday, recipes



Comment by Chez Denise et Laudalino

I believe this is the cold that I have had for the past couple of weeks – it must be taking over San Francisco! I feel your pain, literally & will be pouring a couple of these this weekend!! Thanks!

Posted on 02.08.08 at 1:42PM

Comment by Kathy Ramsey

Martha has been sick for a week. If I gave her some whisky, I suppose I’d be arrested. Tempting, though.

Posted on 02.08.08 at 3:53PM

Comment by AppetiteforChina

I’m fighting my 3rd cold this winter…it didn’t occur to me to down a Hot Toddy, but perhaps I just will. Seems more comforting than a cold beer!

Posted on 02.08.08 at 9:01PM

Comment by Tartelette

I married an Irishman, so he has faith in the medicinal powers of wiskey!! I was the one fixing him a few of these last week when he got sick. I love the two hat theory of Cameron!

Posted on 02.09.08 at 4:22PM

Comment by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

I use Cameron’s Two-Hat Theory with brandy to help break a fever.

Works every time!

Posted on 02.11.08 at 10:22AM

Comment by brett

Cameron is too funny with his two hat cure. Love it.

Posted on 02.11.08 at 11:35AM

Comment by Laura

My grandparents definitely got hot toddies for their colds when they were children.

Equally soothing and intoxicating while being simultaneously cozy and wintry is the venerable hot rum punch. Good God. Can you get drunkier or yummier than dark rum, cider, and mulling spices — HOT? I think not.

Great. It’s only Monday and I’m already longing for the weekend.

Posted on 02.11.08 at 6:03PM

Comment by Us vs. Food

I wish I liked brown liquors more… often, groups of people meet in our local at night to exercise their dogs, and on really cold nights will bring out hot toddies. i was always so jealous! and they always look so comforting. rum i might be able to do, though.

Us vs. Food

Posted on 02.12.08 at 1:11PM

Comment by Molly

I LOVE Cameron’s Two-Hat Cure. Hilarious!

Posted on 02.13.08 at 8:55AM

Comment by Genie

Two-Hat Cure=Genius. Why didn’t you people send me this link on Monday? Sheesh.


Posted on 01.24.09 at 11:23PM

Comment by Ron Nadel

The “Two Hat” cure comes from a very old book on Scotch whisky by a British Earl I believe . it’s an excellent book and I’ve been trying to find it for years… the problem is i have lost the title and the Earl’s name!

The book was written probably before WWII.

If anyone knows of it, i’d love the information.


Posted on 03.20.09 at 10:33AM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.