Success on the outside starts with success on the inside, so on your journey to warm and cozy might I suggest one of the oldest cocktails, the Hot Toddy. Heralded in the early 19th century as a cure for the common cold, a Toddy or whiskey punch, is a nice way to stay warm on a cool evening. Hot water is poured into a whiskey, then honey, lemon, and spices are added to create a delicious and soothing elixir. Here’s a version I hope you enjoy.
RVA Hot Toddy ¾ cup water 1 ½ ounces whiskey (I favor Bulleit rye) 2-3 teaspoons honey, to taste 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon, to taste 1 lemon round 1 stick cinnamon 1 star anise pod Bring water to a simmer, pour in a mug, then stir in 2 teaspoons of honey. Add whiskey, two teaspoons of lemon, and the spices. Taste, and adjust lemon and honey to your liking. An inexpensive source for stick cinnamon and star anise is Badia spices. Generally this brand is found in the hispanic food section, and it’s less than half the price of spices in the baking aisle. I recently picked up a huge bag of Badia cinnamon sticks at Food Lion for less than five dollars.
A never-fail hot drink for the whole family is homemade hot chocolate. It takes about five more minutes than instant, and it’s so worth it.
Inside Outside Hot Chocolate 4 cups whole or 2% milk ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ¼ cup sugar ½ cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chips or chopped bar ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract Heat milk, cocoa, and sugar on medium-low, whisking frequently until mixture is warm. Add chips and whisk constantly until evenly distributed. Add vanilla and serve.
For a boozy adult treat, add 2 part Frangelico, 1 part Irish cream, and two parts bourbon. Hey, if Momma’s happy, the whole family’s happy.