If there is one thing I sure get a hell of a lot of enjoyment from, it is a hot toddy. So when my family decided to start a yearly caroling party on their property, my mind immediately went to a land filled with cloves, lemon and whiskey. The first year we put a crock pot of hot toddies out, they went so quickly that we doubled it for the next year, only to find that we ought to have tripled the recipe. Picture a very cold, clear night, you walk up a fluorescent green grass covered hill to a gathering of people around a bonfire. Someone offers you a hot toddy. You have no idea what it is but everyone looks so contented and warm that of course you say yes.
As with any drink there are a million variations. We like to keep it simple with a classic recipe of hot water, lemon juice, whiskey and honey just barely scented with cloves and cinnamon. It is truly like a tonic for the soul, one sip warms you up from the inside out, and chases out any lingering illness that may be hanging around. It is equally as good caroling on a chilly night as it is filled in a thermos and smuggled into a movie theater, which has served us well through the last two Star Wars.
Back on the hillside, once the hot toddies ran out there was hot chocolate and Bailey's to be had, but those ran a distant second to the almighty toddy. Next year we're going big.
Hot Toddy recipe for a Crowd
Makes 30 Drinks
Whiskey - 1.5 liter bottle - Maker's Mark is great here, as is Jack Daniels
Honey - 2 cups
Lemon Juice - 450 ml (about 2 cups)
Water - 2 liters
Cinnamon Sticks - 4 EA
Lemons - 2 EA, sliced in rounds
Whole Cloves - 20 EA
In a large pot, heat the water to almost a simmer. Add the whiskey, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks. Heat over low heat. Taste and adjust, adding more honey or water if necessary.
Stick four cloves through the inside of each lemon round. Float on top the pot, stick a ladle in it and serve! We left it on an induction burner over low heat to keep it warm throughout the evening. A crock pot will do but won't fit a batch of this size. Enjoy!