Jan. 9, 2015 – Sunday, January 11 is National Hot Toddy Day so it is absolutely obligatory that we all support the movement or whatever it is. It’s also Milk Day and all of January is National Oatmeal Month. We’ll take the toddy.
The origin of the toddy isn’t clear. One source claims it comes from 18th century Scotland where sugar or honey, spices and hot water were added to Scotch whisky to make it more palatable to women. We suspect it may be British but we don’t buy the story about the women not liking Scotch whisky. Because it offers relief to cold or flu sufferers, the name might be a contraction of “Todd’s well” which raises the question of who was Todd. Another theory is the term comes from the name of palm wine in India. Basically, no one knows. These days it can be made with tea, coffee, apple cider, pomegranate juice, even cocoa. Cocoa would be a way to be inclusive and celebrate National Milk Day at the same time.
The Irish offer a hot toddy of Irish whisky, brown sugar, lemon, cloves or cinnamon. Other delicious additions might include ginger, hazelnut and butter, especially if your liquor of choice is rum. No matter the origin, a hot toddy will chase the winter blues away and make the world seem a better place.
We turned to Seth Kaikainahaole at the River Ranch Lodge in Tahoe City for his take of toddy-ing. Here are three drinks that are perfect for fixing the chills brought on by a Polar Vortex or just plain old freezing air from Canada.