Nothing says Christmas-cozy like a hot toddy. The boozy winter warmer dates as far back as the 17th century, when healers in India fermented and heated palm-tree sap, called “taddy,” and offered it up as a cure for physical ailments.
By contrast, the modern toddy generally contains a mix of liquor, hot water, herbs and spices. The details are up to you — just make it taste good, mixologist Chaim Dauernann, co-owner of Gramercy cocktail bar Stay Gold, tells The Post.
“The point is to have fun with it,” says Dauermann, who’s currently running a hot-toddy-focused pop-up bar inside Stay Gold called Cottontail.
With fun in mind, he’s breaking down what he has declared the ultimate hot-toddy formula — plus five tasty and distinct recipes that you can whip up from the comfort of your home.
The perfect hot toddy, Dauermann explains, consists of the following: Eight ounces of hot water, tea, one ounce of liquor and flavorings (citrus, herbs, spices, honey, etc).
“Each recipe becomes distinct through the . . . tea, spirit and [seasonings],” says Dauermann.
His top tips as you embark on your toddy adventure? “Make sure you brew a strong cup” so the tea flavor isn’t overpowered by citrus and spirit.
This means following the instructions on the box — some teas need to steep for longer or at hotter temperatures than others — and, occasionally, using two tea bags instead of one.
Also, darker and deeper-flavored liquors will need a stronger tea to match. Finally, don’t panic if you don’t have fresh herbs or whole spices — a pinch of the dried or ground kind works just fine.
Get your holiday spirits on with these five toasty tipples.
Brew 1 cup of black tea, and pour in 1 ounce of brandy (Dauermann’s pick: Sacred Bond). Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey, then add 1 cinnamon stick, 10 whole cloves and a thin slice of lemon. To make it look extra fancy and stop the spices from bobbing around in the drink, Dauermann suggests “studding” the lemon with the cloves.
Using the bottom of a mug, crush 10 whole coriander seeds and set aside. Bring hot water to a boil; pour into mug. Steep 2 bags of Earl Grey tea according to box instructions. Remove bags and add 1 ounce Irish whiskey (Dauermann likes Teeling). Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey. Sprinkle crushed coriander seeds onto the surface of the drink (substitute with powdered coriander). Add 1 slice of lemon and stir. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Use the bottom of a mug to crush 5 cardamom pods. Brew a cup of tea using 2 green-tea bags. Pour in 1 ounce of gin (Dauermann suggests Bimini for its citrusy notes). Add 3 thin strips of whole mace or a pinch of the ground kind (or substitute mace with a pinch of ground nutmeg) and cardamom (or substitute with a pinch of apple-pie spice or a thin slice of ginger). Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey and a thin slice of lemon.
Brew a cup of tea using 2 chamomile tea bags. Pour in 1 ounce of whiskey with a high rye content, such as WhistlePig. (“The dry breadiness of rye pairs nicely with floral chamomile,” says Dauermann.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey, then add a thin slice of lemon and 6 dried allspice berries (or substitute with a pinch of ground allspice). Peel a 2-inch strip of grapefruit rind and press into the palm of your hand to help release its oil and fragrance; add to drink.
Use the bottom of a mug to crush 10 peppercorns. Brew a cup of tea using 2 raspberry herbal tea bags, such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. Pour in 1 ounce of a rich, dark rum, such as Santa Teresa 1796. Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey. Add crushed peppercorns (or substitute with a pinch of ground pepper). Peel a 2-inch strip of orange rind; press into palm of hand to release its oil; add to drink. Top with a thin slice of lemon
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