Calamity’s Corner: Totties: For What Ails You!

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The Hot Toddy (or totty or even totties) has been around for as long as people could throw booze into hot water. There’s nothing better than a toddy for what ails you. Historically hot drinks have been used for both medicinal and leisure purposes. Baby got a tooth coming in? Rub a little warm brandy on the gums (note: I am not recommending you booze your offspring, just noting that this was once an accepted practice.) Sore throat, got a cold, feeling chilled to the bone? The Hot Toddy to the rescue! Just want a warm, relaxing drink before bed? Stoke the fire, lay the kettle on and let’s get to winding down.

Hot Tottie

Hot drinks aren’t just for winter time. I’ve enjoyed them on a summer night now and then. Just recently I indulged in a delightfully delicious Irish Toddy. I’d destroyed my poor voice at the Amusement Park. I could barely whisper. After a toddy soothed my poor vocal cords I was able to croak out a few sentences. No, it isn’t a true fix, only time fixed my voice, but it did provide a little relief.

The variations on toddies are nearly endless. The basic recipe is this:

Citrus wedge/slice/weel

Honey to taste

1-2 oz booze

Hot water

That’s it. That’s all you need. The most common toddy I’ve seen these days is the Bourbon Toddy. I make mine in giant 12 oz. mugs usually, so I go with 2 oz bourbon, 1 good tablespoon of honey and one lemon wheel. Then I top it off with water. This basic recipe can be used with any alcohol, though some seem to do better warm than others. Bourbon and rum are definitley good ones to start with. Substitute the lemon for limes, oranges, or grapefruit even. I once made this tasty thing using Hendricks gin, a wheel of pink grapefruit, and honey.

If honey’s not your thing you can substitute that as well. Agave syrup, and simple syrups work well. There are even liqueurs you can use in place of honey. Berenjager, Benedictine, Drambuie, and Allspice Dram are tasty boozy alternatives.

You can take this another step further by switching out the hot water for tea! It can be a lot of fun to match teas and sweetners to different boozes. Earl Grey, for example, pairs well with lemon and brandy. A good solid Jasmine tea can go nice with Benedictine. If you like green tea try matching it with sake and simple syrup. One nice mix I enjoy often uses Chai tea with honey and spiced rum.

In addition to the toddy there’s always the Hot Buttered Rum: Here’s a good recipe for that:

1 small slice or pat of butter

1 tsp Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spices

Vanilla extract to taste

2 oz rum

Hot water

Muddle the butter, sugar and spices. Then add the rum and hot water, stir until dissolved. Top with whipped cream if desired. (Recently I tried Stillwright’s Spiced Rum, it’s a local brand here in the Dayton area. The rum is especially buttery and caramelly, in fact when using it you can rename your Hot Buttered Rum to Hot Butterbeer! See, what I did there?)

Hot Butterbeer

Here are few more ideas to get you started:

Tequila: use agave syrup. Lime and oranges go well with this.

Rum: Honey, caramel syrup, butterscotch liqueur, Benedictine, honey liqueurs. Oranges and lemons work well. Try with different kinds of black tea or chai.

Bourbon: Honey, agave, Benedictine, coffee liqueurs. Oranges, lemons, cherry. Matches well in strong black tea, coffee.

Gin: Honey, agave, simple syrup. Lime and lemon. Try with green tea, white teas, some herbal teas work, like spearmint or peppermint.

Whisky and Scotch: (Yes, Scotch.) Honey, Benedictine, Berenjager, agave. Lemons work best. Try with black teas, oolongs, or jasmines.

Sake: Honey, simple syrup. Green and white teas, some herbals

Brandy and Cognac: Honey and the aforementioned sweet liqueurs. Great with Earl Grey or Lady Grey teas, as well as with strong black teas.

You may note I skipped vodka. I don’t recommend using vodka. Straight vodka when warmed up just tastes like alcohol. The flavored vodkas don’t generally translate well to this kind of drink. At least not to my palate. Feel free to experiment and if you find something you like, enjoy!

As usual, I’d love to hear about your forays into the world of Hot Totties!


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