Winter may officially still be a few days away, but between the 55-degree days, we’ve surely gotten a sneak peek of what’s coming. Thankfully, a few bartenders across town are already prepared, offering hot toddy variations that are as creative as they are hand-warming. Boasting additions that range from grappa and Jägermeister to cachaça and cayenne, here are five of the best ones out there now.
HOLIDAY SURVIVAL TIPS at ATWOOD KITCHEN & BAR ROOM
Bartender Gil Bouhana set out to create something seasonal and soul-warming — and something easy enough to ensure a couple rounds. He ended up with the Holiday Survival Tips — inspired by Margaret Atwood’s Wilderness Tips — a fireside dram of all-spice liqueur, ginger-infused bourbon, and hot apple cider that’s topped with a cinnamon stick and cloves.
THE FALSE WITNESS at THE UP & UP
Despite its rather intense makeup — Whistle Pig rye, Atlantico Reserva Rum, Jägermeister, and grappa — bartender head Chaim Dauermann assures that this winter sipper’s bark is worse than its bite. “It’s actually a surprisingly mellow and comforting drink,” he says. What’s more? The drink can be served hot or cold, making it a great option for this finicky weather of late.
THE TEA & SYMPATHY at HIGHLANDS
Rather than just building upon an already existing toddy recipe, beverage director Andrey Kalinin wanted to do much more, while also retaining traditional whiskey flavors and comforting spice notes throughout. The idea hit on a hot day when Kalinin missed cold weather, and revealed itself as Avua Amburana Cachaça, King’s Ginger Liqueur, and chai tea, garnished with a clove-stuffed lemon wheel.
BOULTON & WATT TODDY at BOULTON & WATT
At this LES neighborhood spot, bartender Jaime Felber drummed up a close to traditional toddy with whiskey, honey, lemon, and allspice. Felber ensures it’s quick to warm up guests, while also helping to conquer the common cold. “When you keep it hot, the rising vapors will help open up any stuffy noses, too,” he says.
THE FARO HOT TODDY at FARO
Realizing that two whiskies are better than one when it comes to winter drinking, head bartender Jason Mezydlo did just that for the Faro Hot Toddy at this environmentally conscious Bushwick restaurant. It looks a little something like this: Medley Bros. Heritage Collection Bourbon — 102 proof, mind you — Jameson Irish Whiskey, lemon, honey and spices, all adorned with a cayenne and cinnamon rubbed lemon.
By Nicole Schnitzler
(Photos from left: The Faro Hot Toddy at Faro; Holiday Survival Tips at Atwood Kitchen & Bar Room by Amy Tischler; The False Witness at The Up & Up)