Serious Warmth: The Irish Hot Toddy

Monday, November 1, 2010

This recipe is from one of my most treasured cookbooks, Best of Irish Traditional Cooking by Biddy White Lennon. I picked up this book and a couple of others as souvenirs in Ireland while on my honeymoon almost ten years ago, and I still make recipes from it every year! One of my faves is a classic Hot Whisky Punch, aka Irish Hot Toddy. It's simple and wonderful and really does warm you on a cold winter's day. Adding the cloves in the lemon slice was a trick I picked up when I worked for an Irish pub back east. It's functional and decorative at the same time because the lemon slice holds the cloves so they don't free float in the drink so you accidentally injest one (even though it's fine if you do). You can add a stick of cinnamon as well if you like for flavor and as a decorative stirrer.

Irish Hot Toddy
1 measure Irish whiskey (1.5 shot)
1 slice of lemon
whole cloves
boiling water
sugar or honey to taste

Stick the cloves into the slice of lemon. You can use as many or as little as you like.
Warm the glass (preferably an Irish whisky glass) by placing a teaspoon in it and pouring in just-boiled water. The spoon is essential because it absorbs the heat more quickly than the glass and prevents the glass from cracking. Working quickly, empty the glass, add the whiskey, cloved-lemon, and sugar/honey to taste. Press the lemon slice to release a little juice. Add boling water to nearly fill the glass (or however much you want). Stir to dissolve the sweetener and sip while piping hot!

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