Hot toddies have been around for centuries. Hailed as a cure for the common cold, hot toddies were often prescribed as soon as symptoms appeared. And there is some evidence that it might actually work. A hot toddy has a spirit base, usually whisky, with hot water added, honey and lemon and often infused with all manner of spices form fresh ginger, nutmeg, cloves, mace and cinnamon sticks.
The lemon has the benefit of vitamin C and together with the honey will help with decongestion. The warm liquid helps ease a sore throat and is comforting while hydrating too. The spices stimulate saliva which is also soothing on the throat and the alcohol may have a numbing effect.
There is some dispute over the origins of the hot toddy. It is widely believed that it started life in India in the early 1600s. The Hindu word ‘taddy’ translates to ‘drink made from fermented palm sap’. As the country was in British hands the drink was taken back to England and in the cold winters of Scotland and the North of England you would find pubs pouring hot water over whisky. Spices were added when the trade routes to India opened up and more exotic ingredients were available for pubs to add to the hot whisky.
There is another version of history which cites an Irish doctor called Robert Bentley Todd who prescribed patients hot brandy, cinnamon and sugar water. Whatever the truth there is one thing for certain, hot toddies are having a resurgence. And with the advent of the hot gin toddy are we beginning to see the start of a new trend in the pub scene?
For a great hot gin combination try the following, best served in a pre-warmed mug:
Classic Christmas Hot Gin
2 measures Jeffrey's Original Recipe (tonic syrup), 1 measure Tanqueray Sevilla, with an orange slice, or
1 measure Jeffrey's Lime, Galangal & Orange (tonic syrup), 1 measure Tanqueray Rangpur, with a ginger slice, or
1 measure Jeffrey’s Not So Plain (tonic syrup), 1 measure British Polo Gin, with a lemon slice
4-5 measures of boiling water
A slice of Orange, or Orange peel
The beauty of the hot toddy is that it lends itself to most spirits. So, in the cold winter evenings make yourself a warming hot gin toddy and unwind from the stresses of the day.