No Matter The Question In Winter, A Hot toddy Is The Answer

Dorothy: Ma, another hot toddy? I think I’ve had enough.

Sophia: Shut up and drink.

Dorothy: This is the fourth one Ma! That’s a lot of whiskey!

Sophia: I only put whiskey in the first one. The second and third were vodka. Amaretto and sambucca in the fourth one. That should kill everything. – Golden Girls

I really love the idea of winter. A fire in the fireplace, cozy blankets, that cold winter smell outside. But as soon as it turns really, really cold that daunting feeling sets in that I have to go outside and face winter’s torture. And put on a coat. Coats make me hot, then cold, then hot, then cold sweaty hot cold. I’m freezing to death and profusely sweating all at the same time. I hate wearing a coat! And I complain relentlessly about the cold and what a harsh, harsh world it is out there. And it is the season of DISEASES. People are coughing, sneezing, throwing up just minutes after being in close confines with them. Winter is very dangerous.

Of course, I became ill the second week in January. I don’t know if it was COVID because all the tests were gone and it was too cold to go out and try to figure out if I had the C word. I just stayed home until I got better (without even knowing if I had the C word….what?!?!). And I drank so much tea that I could have brewed tea straight from my pores in a hot bath. I really wanted a cocktail one evening as I started feeling better, but a cold one would’ve caused my teeth to chatter out of my mouth. And that is when I remembered the hot toddy. It is the most comforting and delicious drink. And it soothes a sore throat. Things were looking up.

Here’s the recipe: hot water, two ounces of bourbon, fresh squeezed lemon juice. That’s it.

Or toss in a candied orange peel or squeeze in a little fresh orange juice.

I made my toddy with tea – Earl Gray and Yogi’s herbal teas are my favorites. You use whatever kind of tea you like. Pour hot water over a tea bag, add honey, lemon and a splash of bourbon. So delicious.

Don’t like bourbon? Tequila, gin and vodka make delicious hot drinks too.

I mentioned candied orange peels. That’s because my cousin Cara posted hers on Instagram. I took one look and knew they would be perfect in a Manhattan or an old fashioned cocktail. Cara uses them as garnish for cream cheese iced chocolate cake. I run to the bar cart and she runs to the oven. I’m the bourbon to her candied oranges!

Ready for the very simple recipes? Here you go:

Cara’s Candied Orange Peels:

Wash and peel a bunch of oranges. Or just a couple. Cut into strips and boil for 20 minutes in water with a cup or two of sugar. Drain and cool, toss with sugar to coat and lay out to dry on a baking sheet. Toss in a cocktail, hot toddy or garnish a cake.

Classic Hot Toddy:

Pour one or two ounces of bourbon or whiskey in a mug, add hot water. Stir in honey and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Variations: Add vodka or gin instead of bourbon or whiskey. Add a cinnamon stick. Go crazy.

I prefer bourbon – either Elijah Craig, Woodford or Basil Hayden’s.

Hot Tea Toddy:  Pour hot water into a mug, add your favorite tea bag, stir in honey, lemon juice and a splash or two of bourbon. Add a candied orange peel for a little extra sweet citrusy flavor.

Hot Apple Cider Margarita

1 – 2 ounces of Tequila
4 ounces hot apple cider – heat in a saucepan
Squeeze of fresh orange juice
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Tsp of light agave nectar

Add all to a mug and stir to mix flavors. Top with cinnamon and nutmeg – or add a cinnamon stick. Or a candied orange peel.

Hot Vodka Apple Cider

Boil 6-8 ounces of apple cider and ½ tsp of cinnamon in a saucepan. Reduce heat and add 1 ounce of vodka. Simmer for about five minutes. You can add more to make a larger batch for friends.

Party idea! Have friends over and treat them to a hot toddy bar. Have various spices like nutmeg or ground cloves, oranges, lemons, teas, cinnamon sticks, apple cider, candied orange peels, bourbon cherries and plenty of hot water in the kettle. Tell everybody to get creative!

And just like that winter is ok.