The toddy is bartending at its most basic: whiskey, sugar, and lemon—that’s it—mixed and then topped with scalding water. “It’s a pretty straightforward template,” says Jillian Vose, beverage director at New York’s Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, a World’s Best Bar winner rightly famous for its boozy cold-weather menu. How you improve on the formula, down to the optional cinnamon stick garnish, is largely up to you. “It’s not every day you have a hot drink,” Vose says. “It soothes the throat, warms the soul.” Think of it as cocktail medicine. Here are three variations for you and your closest crew.
The Dead Rabbit features Irish whiskey in its fanciful adaptation of a recipe first published in 1862 in Jerry Thomas’s The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion. The lemon “sherbet” makes enough for several drinks.