Ah, ’tis the season. Fall in Central Oregon is notorious for being finicky… pleasantly cool and dry one week, single-digit temps and snowing the next.
I’m always surprised at the turn of weather when I’m no longer sitting on the deck sipping rosemary lemonade in the high-desert sunshine.
Instead, I find myself cozied up in the kitchen, pouring myself a steamy hot toddy scented with cinnamon and cloves and planning our annual Christmas tree cutting adventure in the forest.
Hot toddies — or hottie totties, as I sometimes like to call them — were one of the original hot cocktails and while the exact origins are unknown, it’s widely accepted that hot toddies were invented in Scotland in the 1700s.
I’m quite fond of hot cocktails as they always remind me of snowy weekends in the woods or nights spent in front of a fire.
I like them all, from mulled cranberry-apple cider to Irish coffee topped with cream, but hot toddies really are the perfect nightcap: not too heavy, not too sweet, with medicinal benefits to boot.
Hot toddies have traditionally been used as a folk remedy to cure the common cold and flu, thanks to the healing and soothing properties of its ingredients. (In fact, my natural cough syrup was inspired by this recipe.)
In its most basic form, a hot toddy is hot water sweetened with honey, balanced with lemon, and spiked with whiskey.
I like to spice it up a bit with cinnamon and cloves (also very good for you, health-wise) and add a shot of honey whiskey, which subtly enhances the sweetness.
Honey whiskey is tasty. Since you’re not drinking this stuff on the rocks, a mid-grade honey whiskey works well for making hot toddies. (I also love it with maple whiskey.)
Honeylicious Hot Toddy
Makes 2 servings
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons honey
3 ounces honey whiskey
2 bags black tea
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
2 lemon slices
Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Between two mugs, add the lemon juice, honey, honey whiskey, tea bags, and cinnamon.
Pour the hot water over these ingredients and allow the tea to steep for about 3 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and stir the hot toddy until well blended.
To garnish, stick a few cloves (pointy ends in) through a slice of lemon. Float a clove-studded lemon in each mug and serve.
This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 19, 2013.