One of the most delicious hot toddies I’ve ever had was at Little Branch in the West Village, NYC. The bar itself is a dark and quiet haunt in the basement of a corner building that lends itself to smooth, live music, a low-lit atmosphere and a rich hum of casual conversation. On such a bitter cold night, it was the perfect environment to be in and made even more ideal with the warmth of the toddy in front of me. As much as the drink was delicious, there was obviously a sensory experience that I’ve been desperate to recreate as often as necessary…
In my toddy research, the one thing I found was that there are several interesting ways to make one using whisky or rum (so far, I prefer whisky), honey and lemon. I’ve read recipes made with apple juice, apple cider, tea, plain hot water… others recipes spiked with brandy and one recipe recommended sticking a hot poker from a fire inside the mug. The innovations are endless but the drink remains heartwarming. Below is my simple, homemade version – derived from several recipes I’ve read – and includes ingredients easily found in your pantry.
The Whisky Toddy
What you’ll need:
- Hot water
- Black tea (1 tea bag)
- Whisky (here I used Bushmill’s)
- Toasted sesame oil
- Lemon wedge (optional)
Bring hot water to a boil in a tea kettle. While it’s heating up, cover the bottom of a heatproof toddy glass or mug with honey (about 1 Tablespoon’s worth or if you love honey, a little more never hurts).
Pour the hot water into the glass and give a quick stir to break up the honey at the bottom. Add the tea bag and let stand for a few seconds.
Next, add 0.5 – 1 oz. of whisky (depending on the size of your mug). Allow to steep for about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove tea bag.
Stir with a spoon to combine. Next, drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil on top. Option to garnish with a wedge of lemon.
The addition of toasted sesame oil gives the toddy’s warmth a nutty kick. At first I was skeptical but after one sip I was devoted. The sesame oil gives the toddy a wooden glide and is the perfect drink to settle down with at home in the upcoming cold weather season. I invite you to make one. Cheers!