If you’ve had trouble finding a recipe for a traditional Hot Toddy, welcome to the club. The proper ingredients for this heated drink are surprisingly hotly debated. Even the origin of the name is not exactly known, but suspected to have come about in the 1700s. Due to frequent trade between Britain and India at the time, some sources claim the drink borrowed its named from a popular Indian beverage called a Toddy, made from fermented palm tree sap. Other writers have suggested the name was inspired by a source of preferred water in Edinburgh, Scotland known as Tod’s Well (Todian Spring), as mentioned in the 1721 poem The Morning Interview by Allan Ramsay.
You will be relieved however to know that there is some common ground detailing what the basic building blocks should be: an alcoholic spirit, a sweetener, lemon and some kind of warm base (tea, cider or water). The recipe below makes use of fresh blackberry juice, both as a sweetener and a gorgeous color saturation enhancer.
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- 6 oz package of blackberries (set aside 2 berries for garnish)
- 4 oz bourbon whiskey (gin or rum can be substituted)
- 2 tsp raw sugar (plus extra for edge of glass - optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz Earl Grey or other mild, freshly brewed hot tea
- 2 lemon wedges
- 1 long sprig of thyme
- Prepare glasses by running a lemon wedge along rim of glass and dip the rim into a plate of raw sugar.
- Mash blackberries with the back of a fork through a sieve or colander over a bowl to collect the juice.
- Add whiskey, sugar, vanilla, juice from lemon wedges, and tea to the blackberry juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour hot mixture into prepared glasses and garnish each glass with a fresh blackberry threaded onto a sprig of thyme.