In its simplest form, a hot toddy is made of a mere three ingredients, says drinks historian David Wondrich: a spirit (whiskey is the most common choice), a sweetener, and boiling water. Often you’ll find citrus and spices or tea added as well.
The drink’s simplicity renders it open to infinite variations—and an enormous number can be found in NYC bars. Here are some different takes on the hot toddy we’re loving right now.
Do note: since these drinks are super-seasonal, they may not all be on the bars’s main menus. Just ask, though, and we’re assured they’ll be happy to make one for you.
The Fireside at The Polo Bar
Restaurant, Bar, Cocktail Bar, American, $$$
The Fireside at The Polo Bar | Courtesy of The Polo Bar
Luxe Ralph Lauren-owned restaurant The Polo Bar is serving a toddy twist called The Fireside, made with Japanese whiskey, rum, cognac, demerara syrup, ginger syrup, and lemon, garnished with grated cinnamon. It’s said to be a favorite of Mr. Lauren himself.
Dutch Kills, in Long Island City, Queens, is home to bartender Haley Traub, the winner of this year’s Speed Rack Tri-State Finals. The bar’s hot toddy skews traditional, with bourbon, lemon, honey, and cinnamon.
Rock Your Face Off Toddy at The Shanty at New York Distilling Company
Bar, Gastropub, American, $$$
The Shanty, a bar adjacent to a distillery, serves cocktails incorporating spirits distilled mere feet away. This one incorporates New York Distilling Company’s flavored whiskey Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye—which blends young rye whiskey with rock candy sugar with flavors of sour cherry, cinnamon, and citrus—plus lemon juice, honey syrup, and a dash of bitters.
Given the bar’s name, it should be no surprise that The Rum House’s signature hot toddy is rum-based. It combines spiced rum, lemon, demerara syrup, winter spices, citrus peel, and a slice of fresh ginger for an extra spicy kick. So how do you make one yourself? Here’s a very simple recipe from one of our favorite bars. Rock Your Face Off Toddy Created by Allen Katz for The Shanty at New York Distilling Company 2 oz Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice 1 tsp Honey Syrup (a two-to-one mixture of honey and water) 1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters Combine all ingredients in a 6 oz glass, add 3 oz hot water, and stir. Garnish with a half lemon wheel, if desired.