Cabin fever has you wondering if its possible to survive another six-month winter and why you would put yourself through another one, but there’s a reason we have winter in the Catskills. I like to think that it’s not because the earth suddenly tilts for no purpose whatsoever, as if holding its cold ass to the fire. No, winter’s for learning, seed planning, and drinking a lot of warming winter cocktails like hot toddies and mulled wine. If the earth must kick back, so can we.
A basic hot toddy is the juice of half a lemon, half an ounce of honey or maple syrup, plus one ounce to two ounces of whiskey, topped up with six ounces of water that’s hot, but not boiling. However, there’s a little room for experimentation, especially if you want to spend the evening reading. For example, you can make a strong hot tea from Earl Grey black tea, add an ounce of this to your toddy and reduce the whiskey. The bergamot in the Earl Grey complements the lemon in the toddy. You can also, for a bit of spice, add a cinnamon stick, star anise, or grated nutmeg.
Earl Grey Hot Toddy
Steaming hot water
1 ounce of whiskey
Half an ounce of honey or maple syrup
Juice of half a fully-squeezed lemon
Earl Grey teabag
Boil a tea kettle full of fresh water. Wait a few minutes for it to cool slightly. Pour eight ounces of the hot water into a cup with an Earl Grey teabag. Let steep for three minutes.
Into a separate cup, add one ounce of whiskey, half an ounce of honey and the juice of half a lemon. Pour in one ounce of the Earl Grey tea. Top this mixture with about four ounces of the hot water.
Garnish with a lemon slice and stir with cinnamon stick.