Despite growing up in the cold, damp Pacific Northwest and spending a few years in the Midwest for college, I’ve never gotten used to the cold that hits every year around this time. While other people are leaving the house in light sweaters, I’m in triple layers with a scarf and wool socks and I’m still shivering. We’re spending our first cold season in our new place, which happens to be older and thus full of drafts, and now I can’t seem to stay warm inside, either. So what to do all winter long, when it’s so cold you can’t get cozy no matter how many chunky knits you’ve piled on? You warm yourself from the inside out, my friends. I’m convinced that nothing will thaw a freezing person more efficiently than imbibing a steaming mug of seasonal spice with a splash of liquor. You might be already be familiar with this drink’s official name: the hot toddy.
Traditionally made with hot water, lemon, honey and spices mixed with some of that liquor I mentioned before, the hot toddy is a drink made for chilly, rainy days. It will even help you nurse a cold; when you’re under the weather, what could be more soothing than warm liquids, honey and, of course, that bit of alcohol to dull your aches and pains? This hot toddy is a seasonal twist on the original recipe thanks to my current favorite Stash tea, maple apple cider. Substituting tea for plain old hot water gives a hot toddy loads more flavor – in this case, apple, cinnamon, caramel, maple and a hint of hibiscus – so I highly recommend this particular blend. Stash has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. When I was very young I’d spend holidays at my grandma’s house sorting her vast assortment of Stash teas by color, and when I was old enough to appreciate the tea for its flavor I’d regularly deplete my mom’s Stash reserves of everything minty. With the holidays approaching I’m looking forward to serving this hot toddy to my family and making more memories to reflect on whenever I sip my morning Stash. Read on for the recipe!
Once my maple cider tea was steeped nice and strong, I stirred in a couple heaping tablespoons of my dad’s honey, added some smooth cognac and between P and me, that first one didn’t last more than a few minutes. I omitted the traditional lemon because it makes the drink too acidic for my tastes, but worry not – between the cider tea and cinnamon and cloves I added, it’s abundantly flavorful. I’ll be enjoying hot toddies all season long and hope you do too! If you try this recipe out I’d love to hear what you think.
- 10 oz. water
- 1 bag Stash maple apple cider tea
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1-2 Tbs. honey (depending on how sweet you like your toddies)
- 1.5 oz. cognac (or any smooth brandy will do)
- Bring water to a rolling boil and pour into a mug over the tea, cinnamon stick and cloves. Steep for 4-5 minutes, then remove the tea bag.
- Stir in honey, then stir in cognac. Enjoy!