Remember when your grandma told you a hot toddy could cure a cold? Well, it probably can’t. But as influenza season descends, a little bourbon can't hurt.
Despite the hot toddy’s octogenarian reputation, it’s enjoying a resurgence among craft bartenders. “I think it used to be ignored, but not anymore,” says Eric Castro, bartender at New York City’s Boilermaker. “People are starting to open their minds to the possibilities hot drinks present.”
A day of snowboarding reignited Castro’s interest in the hot toddy. “I got injured early in the day, so I wound up at the bar,” he says. (We can relate.) “A vodka soda isn’t what you want after a day of skiing, so I ordered a hot toddy.”
At home, he decided to personalize the drink, adding Campari and sweet vermouth to the traditional bourbon and hot water mix. “It’s a beautiful crimson color and the cinnamon gives it a bit of a holiday feel. Our sales of these spike when it’s cold.”
If you’re not in New York City this month, here’s how to make your own.
Created by Erick Castro, Boilermaker, New York City
½ oz. Campari
½ oz. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
¾ oz. Cinnamon syrup (to make this, combine equal parts sugar and water with a cinnamon stick. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.)
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
Fill an 8-ounce mug with boiling water and let sit for one to two minutes to warm the vessel. Dump the boiling water and add all the ingredients into the mug. Top off the mug with boiling water and garnish with an orange slice.
For a more traditional hot toddy, try this old-fashioned variety crafted by Brian Hawthorne of New York City’s The Wayland:
1888 Hot Toddy
1.5 oz. Brugal 1888
½ Tbsp honey
4 oz. Hot water
½ oz. ginger juice or two ginger slices
Mix all the ingredients together in a mug, then garnish with a lemon twist and a cinnamon stick.