7 Reasons That the Hot Toddy is THE Winter Drink
The hot toddy is the winter drink. Here are seven reasons why.
1. They’re Warming. Hot toddies are hot. The winter is cold. Therefore, when you arrive home after any time outdoors, you are probably cold. Given that the temperature differential between the toddy and your body* is going to be quite substantial, the taking of the toddy will be beneficial to your body temperature and innate sense of wellbeing.
2. They’re Medicinal. Given that it’s winter, you’re probably suffering from some sort of cold/flu/sniffle/sinus-block-green-stuff-induced-torpor. The hot toddy contains cloves, which help you breathe more easily (if you embed them in the lemon properly). If you don’t, you may accidentally get one caught in your throat and choke to death. Still, fear of imminent death makes drinking a hot toddy far more interesting than drinking a cup of tea.
3. They’re Convenient. Don’t have the necessary ingredients for a hot toddy to hand? Well, firstly, sack your housekeeper. Secondly, relax. The hot toddy recipe isn’t some hideously rigid formula that must be adhered to, it’s more a rough guide to creating your own drink: Hot toddy making is an art rather than a science. If you don’t have any whisky handy, you can use pretty much any other dark or oak-aged spirit; whiskey, brandy, grappa, rum are all acceptable (individually, don’t go mad) and bring a different flavour to proceedings. You can also – should you find that you’re out of honey – substitute dark sugar, syrup or treacle. My favourite alternative is maple syrup, which is from Canada, where they have weird canoes and they milk trees.
4. They’re Healthy. Most hot toddy recipes suggest that you use a slice of lemon. They are wrong. If you use a quarter of a lemon and squeeze it before putting it in the mug (squeezing the juice into the mug, obviously, don’t just dribble it over the worktop or onto a passing cat) the toddy is much better. Firstly it uses up a greater quantity of lemon – which is always desirable – and secondly, it puts more lemon juice into the drinker. Not only does this give you vitamin C, it probably counts as one of your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day so, disregarding clove-choking incidents, you’ll be healthier too and may live for ever.***
5. They’re Even Healthier. One of the things you need to do to fight those wintry ailments is to make sure your blood sugar levels are high. This will give you the energy you need to carry on regardless/lie down and complain that you are dying (delete as appropriate, based on sex). This is why they give ill people Lucozade, and this is why you should drink a hot toddy, either preventative or medicinal. That and they don’t taste of Lucozade.
6. They’re Even More Convenient. You might be thinking that the last thing you want to be doing is messing about with spirits, cloves and lemons every time you want a hot drink, but the good news is that you don’t have to. Because you can pre-make your hot toddies. Just put all the ingredients, minus the hot water, into a mug and put it in the fridge (in our kitchen, we have a walk-in refrigerator that we call “the kitchen”). You can put as many as you want in there. You might also consider adding a note that says “in case of emergency, add boiling water, stir, bring upstairs to me” or some such. Your partner/housemates/parents/children/pets/imaginary friend will doubtless appreciate that.
7. They Taste Good. I seem to have forgotten to mention that they taste bloody marvellous. Plus, the flavour is so strong, that even with a cold, it is still apparent. And they smell so nice that other people will follow you around the house as you drink one and attempt to steal it, despite having declined your kind offer of one only ten minutes previously. That always happens.
*Don’t panic, I know it rhymes. I shan’t attempt to turn that line into the start of a song.**
**Well, I’ll try to resist it.
***If you fail to live for ever after switching to the hot toddy as your winter drink of choice, feel free to email your complaint to us.
As a special bonus, here’s the recipe:
Some whisky: Maybe a little bit more. A tiny bit more. Oh, fuck it, another splash won’t hurt me.
Two teaspoons of honey.
A quarter of a lemon (squeezed, if you are at all health-conscious)
Some cloves (4-8). Embed them in the lemon or you will die.
Combine all the ingredients in a mug, then fill with hot water and stir. Remove teaspoon. Drink.
(You can also add a cinnamon stick if you like cinnamon or sticks).