For centuries, the hot toddy has been touted as a remedy for the common cold. Traditionally a stiff blend of whiskey (Scotch or bourbon), lemon, honey and hot water, the drink’s remedial properties are succinctly explained in British wine critic Victoria Moore’s book, How to Drink: “The vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.”
Recently, the hot toddy has come out from under the sick-room covers and onto the menus of chic cocktail bars, where top-shelf spirits and quality ingredients make the drink much more than a cold cure. At The Grill Room in Portland, bar manager Ben Teitelbaum uses Pimm’s #1 combined with Vermont Sapling liqueur for a distinctive and delicious version, while Patrick Morang at David’s Monument Square infuses bourbon with spices for his take on the toddy.
Not a hot whiskey or bourbon fan? Other spirited ways to warm up at Portland bars include mulled cider, hot buttered rum and boozy coffee drinks. Any of these will keep you toasty through the long Maine winter.
Pimm’s Hot Toddy
Bar Manager Ben Teitelbaum concocted this version of the classic summer cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup: Pimm’s #1, Vermont Sapling maple liqueur, Angostura bitters, hot water, cinnamon stick, clove studded orange. Photo by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography
Hot Buttered Rum
The all-Maine ingredient list includes: Rusticator rum, Maine maple syrup, Kate’s butter, hot water. Photo by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography
Casco Bay Foggy Joe
It’s a beverage AND dessert: Frangelico, Bailey’s, hot chocolate, hot coffee, whipped cream, nutmeg. Photo by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography
LTH Mulled Cider
Housemade apple cider is kicked up with Barenjager (German honey bourbon), hot water and a cinnamon stick. Photo by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography
Bar Manager Patrick Morang starts with his own spice-infused bourbon to make this version of the classic with Angostura orange bitters, hot water, cinnamon stick, orange peel and a sugar swizzle stick for added sweetness. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald
Proprietor Andrew Volk combines whiskey with lemon juice, ginger syrup, hot water a cinnamon stick and orange slice. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald