Hot Toddy for Your Body

The Colonial Roots of a Beloved Winter Warmer

By Logan R. Brouse, February 2, 2019

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201703/logan.pngLogan R. Brouse, proprietor and mixologist of Logan’s Punch and Tacolicious, has run bars and clubs in Shanghai for over eight years. In between hangovers, he puts pen to paper in his column for That's to record his pontifications on the drink industry.

I hate to rub it in, but summer's over. Like seriously, we're all wearing gloves and scarves and not in an ironic way. WTF, time? It goes so fast when you get hammered so often – which is something Shanghai is good at helping us do again, and again and wait – what? 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's time for hot drinks (until next year, rosé). So, let’s warm up those fingers with a little bit of hot toddy history (it’s healthy).

So who exactly was this Todd fellow and what made him so fucking hot? While I can’t answer that, I can tell you that toddy comes from the Hindi word tārī, which refers to the fermented sap of the toddy palm. This was a cold drink that the Brits drank back when the East India Trading Co were bigger scumbags than Eminem at a PTA Meeting, Bill Cosby at a slumber party, Al Franken on a USO tour, Gary Glitter’s search history and Bromme Hampton Cole when he ‘bought’ City Weekend. 

Now, there is some speculation that the Hot Toddy (as we know it) originated in an Edinburgh pub called Tod’s Well a few hundred years ago. This makes sense that a cold, refreshing drink in India would become a warm, toasty one in cold-as-balls Scotland. And since palm wine wasn’t as readily available as the wonderful whiskeys on hand, like Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, a star is born.

This cocktail reached the States where it was sold in punch form by early colonists to beat the British, who initially created the drink in a full circle of a boozy ouroboros. Now, as winter comes faster than the first time Jon Snow hit it with Daenerys, let’s look at a simple recipe perfect for school, home and work.

Logan's Hot Toddy

  • 2 shots Fernet Branca

  • 6 cloves

  • 1 star anise pod

  • 50 ml fresh lemon juice

  • 15 ml honey (add more to taste)

  • 60 ml Scotch Whiskey (preferably Chivas Mizunara)

First, take one shot of Fernet Branca and drink it. 

Combine water with star anise and cloves and bring to a simmer. Add honey, lemon juice and whiskey to a heat resistant glass. Carefully pour the hot water with spices into the glass making sure to include all the spices.

As the drink cools, enjoy the second Fernet Branca shot before savoring your Hot Toddy.

[Cover image via]

See more of Logan's columns here

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