Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hot Toddy Time

I've often joked about being a "Hapa Hillbilly" - a half-Japanese, half-Scottish gal from the hills of West Virginia. (Well, in truth, it's more the Ohio River Valley than the hills, but saying that you're from the valley in West Virginia is as romantic as admitting that you’re from The Valley in Southern California.)

I've paid homage to my kimono-clad side with posts about my cooking class at the Japanese Buddhist Church and memories of my Tokyo-born mother. The hillbilly emerges when I talk about my love for beans and greens from Cracker Barrel; my quest for the perfect cole slaw-slathered, West Virginia-style hot dog; pitchers of iced sweet tea; pots of cabbage rolls and adventures in all-you-can-eat dining with Daddy.

But the Scottish roots? Not so much. Unlike my kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing brother, I haven't embraced the customs or foods of my father's side of the family.

So when a friend, who lived in Scotland for two years, offered to make a hot toddy for me, I immediately accepted. At last I'd found a Scottish tradition that I could wrap my cold hands around.

I think both the Irish and the Scots like to take credit for inventing the hot toddy. I for one would wager it was a fiendishly frugal Scotsman who found a way to stretch a shot of whiskey into eight ounces of comfort.

When I googled "hot toddy," I expected to find hundreds of variations, but the combinations are simple and limited.

To make a hot toddy, pick your poison from the list below (I've placed an asterisk by my choice):

  • Something hard: Whiskey OR bourbon* OR brandy
  • Something sweet: Sugar OR honey*
  • Something hot: Hot water* OR favorite tea
  • Something sour: Lemon juice (from 1/4 lemon) and lemon slice* OR orange juice and orange slice

Pour a shot or two of bourbon into one of those clear glass mugs or use a regular mug if you don't own one. Add sweetener, lemon juice, hot water and lemon slice.

If you're feeling daring, stud that lemon slice with cloves.

Drink this: When you're curled up by a fire with a good book or a good friend; when you feel the first signs of a cold, flu or cough; when you need a little help falling asleep; or when you want to get in touch with your inner Highlander.

(And for two more hot, delicious drinks, visit the Restless Chef.)


Cafe Observer said...

Rite now I could use a Pizza To Go with any of your drinks.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I remember when I had my first one and that was when I was sick w/a bad cold... I downed 5 and the next day my cold was gone!. I kid u not...

Susan C said...

CO,Hope you got your pizza. (And where does the canine go for his pizza?)

Chrissy, I guess five drinks is enough to scare anything away. But thanks for confirming the toddy tonic theory.

Susan C said...
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Desiree said...

Whoohoo, thanks for the shout out Susan, and I look forward to trying this!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks for the recipe, Susan! I'm confident enough with these ingredients to try variations.

Cafe, I'd like to know, too, especially if they deliver. We've been looking for good delivery pizza in Pasadena; just ticked a bad one off the list last night.

Good to know, Chrissy!

Amy said...

The hot toddy is my favorite cough survival tool (if not a cure). I usually go for whiskey (Crown Royal), tea (lemon or earl grey), and honey. Ehem...not that I've had that many. ;)

Cafe Pasadena said...

P, now you've given me, or you, a good idea for a blog post.
Maybe after your coffeehouse search??

Margaret said...

This is sounding very good to me in today's rain.

Anonymous said...

Now, I would have thought the Highlander leaned towards Scotch.

Mary Bergfeld said...

That just goes to show you :-) I was told the toddy was an Irish creation that predated Irish coffee. If you like this I think you'll also like hot buttered rum. Yum!!!

J said...

I always feel like dining after reading one of your posts. Nice job. :)

Rachel (Diary of a Recovering Chocoholic) said...

I tried my first hot toddy this weekend in Belfast! Not sure I liked it though...

Anonymous said...

Mr V's father emigrated here from Edinburgh. Don't recall any hot Toddy's but the mans Manhattan's were the pride of Berkly street

MOMO said...

want some news?

Susan C said...

Desiree, And I look forward to trying a Tom and Jerry. Sounds so rich and delish.

Petrea, Impossible to go wrong.

Amy, He he, sounds like you know your way around a hot toddy.

CP, By all means, a pizza post (especially take-out) would be welcome. Of course, I'm so cheap that I can count on one hand the number of times that I've had the pizza delivered.

Margaret, Yes, yesterday would have been the perfect day to down a few very hot toddies.

AH, You're right about the Scotch vs. bourbon thing. I guess the southern side won out on the liquor.

Mary, I'd love to try hot buttered rum. It's on my list of "curl up by the fire" drinks.

Jennifer, thanks!

Chocaholic, Belfast? Really? Now I'm jealous.

PA, I think the Manhattan is the ultimate drink. I had a perfect one (meaning half sweet, half dry vermouth) at the bar of Tommy Bahama's the other night. (I received a FREE corporate $25 gift card in the mail, so the drink was on Tommy.)

Mari Mansourian said...

yummmm i'm having a hot toddy tonight :)... we usually pour some brandy in tea for coughs too

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Trish said...

ok, a few days late in catching up on the post...but yuuuum!

lol on the cheap side of things. I've got Irish, Scot and a LOT of German in my history---am sure plenty of my ancestors were good at squeezing pennies to get more out of them too.

I think you've managed to capture the good side of Scot recipes! Truly, what foods are the Scots known for that would not involve the FDA and some sort of citation? ;-)

I'm thinking I'll toddle off tonight with a toddy or two...yippie!

Mommyof2girlz/StephD said...

I am Scottish and adore the hot toddys..yumm. Thanks for stopping by today it was nice to meet you. Have a wonderful holiday season :)

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Unknown said...

So what's wrong with admitting your from the San Fernando Valley in So Cal?

Anonymous said...
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Trish said...

barbara---what's wrong? oh, one phrase "Gag me with a spoon!" ;-)

Susan---am aiming at a toddy right now...thanks for the suggestion!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Barbara, I like the valley. Some gorgous hiking in Chatsworth and the Semi hills

we're linked on my latest post. Your the Gourmiss

(Miss Gourmet) said...

What you need is a nice piece of shortbread - that would put you in touch with your Scottish roots right quick!

(Well, it would me - I love shortbread)


Susan C said...

Mari, Hope you enjoyed your hot toddy or tea with brandy.

Trish, "Toddle off with a toddie" I've always wanted to say that.

Mommy, Are you really Scottish? That explains why your talent at creating such beautiful clothing for your daughters. Sewing is such a frugal and creative thing.

Barbara, The Valley does have the best concentration of delis in LA County. Darn! Now I'm hungry for a good Reuben.

PA, Loved your post!

CSC, Funny you should mention Scottish shortbread. My friend the Restless Chef just posted a recipe this morning and the light bulb went on.

Piper Robert said...

Did you know Grandma kept a bottle of bourbon in the cellar? Medicinal purposes only. She made a concoction for a cold that included; whiskey, honey, lemon, and hot water. Sound familiar? James would feign a cough, me thinks, to get a shot of Old Grandad. I never could find where she hid the bottle, though. Who would have thought Grandma was making hot toddys. But, she also made sheep nanny.

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Cafe Pasadena said...

Hope you had a Happy Festivus, SC!

Food Gal said...

A happa hillbilly!! I love it! Hmmm, maybe you should try making hot sake toddy? ;)

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Susan C.

Velva said...

I really smiled when I read this post. I have a half-German and the other half from the coal mining mountans of West Virginia too-And I was born and raised in Miami. I was the only kid who's mother had a 15 qt pot of beans simmering on the stove day and night and a can of spam ready to fry-up (smile).
I am glad to finally know that I too, can embrace my scottish side with a good hot toddy-which by the way, sounds wonderful with this insane Winter weather.