BY CHRIS POH
A Toddy for the Body
of the most effective ways to ward off the evening’s chill during the
fall and winter months is with a simple Hot Toddy. The origins of this
warming elixir are not really known. There are those who attribute it
to a drink made in India using the fermented sap of the palm tree.
Another school of thought suggests a Scottish connection making use of
that much celebrated spirit of Caledonia. With my fondness for the
Scots and their native whisky, I much prefer the latter explanation.
In the following excerpt from his 1721 poem The Morning Interview,
Allan Ramsay describes the makings of a tea party in Edinburgh in which
everything at the table, including that piece of furniture, comes from
afar, except for the kettles of water which were brought from the
Entertainment crowns the War,
And all rich Requisites are brought from far.
The Table boasts its being from Japan,
Th'ingenious Work of some great Artisan.
China, where Potters coarsest Mould refine,
That Rays through the transparent Vessels shine;
The costly Plates and Dishes are from thence,
And Amazonia must her Sweets dispence;
To her warm Banks our Vessels cut the Main,
For the sweet Product of her luscious Cane.
Here Scotia does no costly Tribute bring,
Only some Kettles full of Todian Spring.
The Todian Spring (also known as Tod’s Well), supplied water to the
city of Edinburgh. The assumption is that since water is key to the
making of the drink, that perhaps the term “toddy” came about by way of
the local vernacular—as an amusing term to denote this
warming medicinal libation.
|Whatever the case,
here is the traditional Scottish recipe:
· Pour 1.5 ounces of Scotch Whiskey into a
cup, mug or snifter.
· Add 3 – 4 ounces of boiling water.
· Add a tablespoon of honey
· Add a slice of fresh lemon, one cinnamon
stick and a couple of cloves.
· Allow all ingredients to steep for 3 – 5
There are countless variations of the original recipe. Just about any
kind of distilled spirit can be substituted, and tea, cider and even
coffee are often used in place of plain water. Experiment and enjoy.
The nights are getting colder—so cuddle up with a Hot Toddy.