Traditionally, a hot toddy is the drink you make when you’re flu-ridden or, you know, just really old. It doesn’t exactly conjure up good times. But the toddy’s versatility makes it “a great vehicle for experimentation,” says Robert Krueger, bar director at Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, where you can order a Nellie Fer’ Toddy (yes, it’s named after the singer). All a beverage needs to qualify as a toddy is a base spirit cut with hot water, something sweet or citrusy to round it out, plus a garnish (a cinnamon stick works)–and “there are unlimited ingredients that meet each of those roles,” Krueger says. “By tweaking one of these elements, you can make the familiar unique.” That’s what bartenders across the country are doing now, riffing on the form by swapping out the usual whiskey and adding liqueurs.
One To Try At Home
New York City’s Montmartre serves the Chipmunk Toddy, which Brian Bartels, director of bar operations, says is easy to make. (Just swap out his house-made almond bitters for Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters.)
1/2 oz. walnut liqueur
1/2 oz. H by Hine cognac
1/2 oz. Lustau Deluxe Cream Sherry
1/2 oz. maple syrup
3 drops black-walnut bitters
Freshly grated cinnamon
Combine ingredients in a coffee cup and top with hot water. Garnish with a lemon wedge.