As the days get shorter and the weather gets chillier, nothing comforts you quite like something warm to drink. You’ve got lots of options: hot chocolate, fresh-brewed apple cider, warm eggnog, hot coffee, a trillion varieties of tea and even mulled wine. (If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ve got to.) But for me, one warm drink beats out all the others, hands down, and it’s called a hot toddy. I’m relatively new to this drink, but it has quickly become a favorite.
Here are a few places in Atlanta to get one:
- Pittypat’s Porch: A distinctly Georgian take on the traditional hot toddy, the Pittypat’s version combines apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, peach schnapps, peach brandy and peach syrup in a Mason jar. Downtown.
- Kimball House: If you want a little extra kick in your hot toddy, Kimball House adds a measure of St. George Absinthe Verte to cognac, almond and lemon. Decatur.
- Fadó Irish Pub Atlanta: Raise a pint for a toddy made with Tullamore D.E.W Irish whiskey, honey, cloves and lemon. Buckhead and Midtown.
- Wrecking Bar Brewpub: If rye whiskey suits you, check out the Wrecking Bar's toddy with chamomile tea, Bärenjäger German honey liqueur, lemon juice, bitters and spices. Little Five Points.
- Park Tavern: This tavern is about as close to the activity of a ski lodge as we’ve got here in Atlanta, considering that in the winter months, the tavern sets up an ice skating rink. Take a break during your skate with a hot toddy. Midtown.
What is a hot toddy? It originates in Scotland, where for years people have combined the rich vanilla sweetness of good bourbon with a watery tea concoction. There are many versions of hot toddy recipes, but they all generally consist of the liquor (either bourbon, brandy or Scotch), hot water, honey, citrus, herbs and spices. This is indeed the kind of drink that’ll warm you quickly, either from the temperature or from the dollop of alcohol. Some people even believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu; the book “How to Drink” describes the purpose of the main ingredients as "the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.” Even if you aren’t sick, in my opinion, a great winter evening includes relaxing with a hot toddy on a comfy couch in front of the fireplace with good friends.
Here is how you make it:
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) bourbon (or brandy or Scotch)
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup boiling-hot water
- Optional: cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form)
Put liquor, honey and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved. Add spices to taste.
Where’s your favorite hot toddy place in Atlanta?
Beth Clark is a writer and foodie who loves to roam around Atlanta, uncovering the city's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Curiosity is her compass, and you'll find her writing on www.thecitydweller.me