Dear Precipitation: Make up your mind or get lost. The only kind of “wintry mix” I approve of is a hot toddy.
That’s what I was muttering to the moody skies this morning as I sloshed and slipped along the sidewalk—and on my way home again this afternoon (a few hours early) in a gale of freezing rain. When I got home and slowly unclenched my numb fingers from my too-wet-to-be-useful umbrella, I thought: What, exactly, is a hot toddy? I’ve only read about them in books, but they sound like the perfect antidote to a day that’s alternated between rain, thunderstorms, snow, ice and everything in between.
According to the dictionary, a toddy is either the fermented sap of an Asian palm, or “a usually hot drink consisting of liquor (as rum), water, sugar, and spices.” Epicurious has a recipe for a hot toddy with bourbon, and a book I got from the Museum of the American Cocktail calls for a hot toddy to be made with brandy, lemon juice, and a sugar cube rubbed against a lemon rind. Alas, I had no fermented Asian palm sap, bourbon, brandy, or even a sugar cube on hand. But I had something better…
Maple Hot Toddy
1.5 oz maple liqueur, such as Sapling
1 Tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff — no fake aunts or cabins, please)
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon (preferably Meyer, which are sweeter than typical lemons)
4 oz boiling hot water
Prewarm a glass mug with hot water. Pour in first three ingredients, stir, then add hot water and stir again. Garnish with a lemon wedge or curl of lemon zest. Top (yourself) with a blanket, a good book, and a smug smile at the frightful weather outside.