With cold weather settling in and flu season just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about the Hot Toddy. This comforting cup, which at its most basic contains bourbon or whiskey, lemon, honey and hot water, is believed to date to 1700s Scotland.
The source of the name is debated, but dictionary.com gives this origin story: “Toddy: alteration of taddy (1611), tarrie (1609), a beverage made from fermented palm sap, from the Hindi tari, or ‘palm sap’ (in which the -r- sounds close to an English -d-).” The first known recorded use of toddy to mean “a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices” occurred in 1786. The British Isles would have been trading with India at that time, so that makes sense.
Some people add cloves to their Hot Toddy, or use hot cider as a base rather than hot water. I prefer to stick to the basics. If you have a cough, add more honey. If your sinuses are clogged, add more lemon. It is never wrong to add more bourbon.