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Hot Toddies

Hot Toddies

Hot Toddy is a mixed drink that is served hot. Originally "toddy" was the name for juice from various palm trees, especially from the cocos nocifera species. An alcoholic beverage named "arrack" was made by fermenting and distilling it. Some people believe that the hot toddy beverage has got its name from that juice. They say that a retired member of the British East India Company introduced the name into Scotland, but that is rather doubtful.

Another version is that the drink has got its name from plain water, just like whisky has. The matter is that Scottish Gaelic for "water" is "uisge"; in likely manner the hot drink could be named "toddy" after the well named Todian Spring, or the Tod's well, which supplies Edinburgh with water. This etymology was rejected at first, but then got adopted on the strength of Allan Ramsay's poem published in 1721. It describes a sumptuous entertainment, or a tea party, in which it is said that:

"All the rich requisites are brought from far: the table from Japan, the tea from China, the sugar from Amazonia, or the West Indies, but that

‘Scotia does no such costly tribute bring,
Only some kettles full of Todian spring.'"

The archetypic hot toddy context is described in Lois Joseph Vance's 1909 novel The Bronze Bell:

...the stranger at the door was aware of a slight jarring as though some more than ordinarily brutal gust of wind had shaken the house upon its foundation... the door swung wide. A flood of radiance together with a gust of heated air struck him in the face. Dazzled, he reeled across the threshold.
The man before him stepped quickly forward and with two strong hands clasped his shoulders. ... "Sit down." He swung Amber about, gently guiding him to a chair. "You look pretty well done up. How long have you been out in this infernal night? But never mind answering; I can wait. Doggott!"
"Yes, sir."
"Take Mr. Amber's coat and boots and bring him my dressing-gown and slippers."
"Yes, sir."
"And a hot toddy and something to eat - and be quick about it."
"Very good, sir."

Hot toddies are usually made using a spirit base (brandy, rum or whiskey), hot liquid (water, tea or coffee), a sweetener (honey, sugar or syrup) and sometimes spices (generally "brown" such as cinnamon or cloves) and/or citrus (lemon or orange). Traditionally these beverages were used for relaxation or before exposure to severe weather; they also were believed to have a curative effect on flu and colds. Curiously enough, the ingredients of the drink are quite similar to those of cola soft drinks.

To prepare a hot toddy just warm up the ingredients in a microwave for about 30 seconds and then add a hot beverage and a spirit. If you don't have a microwave just stir the ingredients into a warm beverage and then add a spirit of your choice.


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