Hot Toddy · Black Lamb
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Velvet Elvis · Sarma
A Hot Toddy may be a warm comfort on a cold day, but it doesn’t typically challenge the palate. Unless you’re sipping on the piping-hot iteration from Black Lamb, which trades the expected rum or whiskey base for blended Scotch and straight apple brandy, accented with a spicy ginger syrup, a dash of Angostura bitters, and a spritz of Islay Scotch.
“We wanted to give it a little bit of smoke just to combat the sweetness,” says bar manager and service director Megan MacLean. “I find that a lot of Hot Toddies can be cloying with the honey.”
Black Lamb’s version still includes honey to give the cocktail body. But it’s in the form of a syrup, created by diluting honey with equal parts warm water. One heavy dash of Angostura lends depth, and a fresh ginger syrup provides a bold, spicy edge.
The ginger syrup is made by dissolving equal parts sugar with fresh ginger juice. Black Lamb makes the latter using a masticating juicer, but MacLean says home bartenders can use a blender or substitute store-bought ginger juice of the freshest quality.
The drink’s garnish is a clove-studded lemon wheel which—in addition to being a traditional garnish for a Hot Toddy—serves a functional role. “The lemon wheel is important,” says MacLean, explaining that the heat and high alcohol content make the drink evaporate more quickly. “That garnish helps to keep all of the vapors in there.”
6-7 ounces boiling water
1 ounce Bank Note Blended Scotch Whisky
1 ounce Laird’s Straight Applejack 86
¼ ounce ginger syrup*
¼ ounce honey syrup (made by diluting honey with equal parts hot water)
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 spritz Laphroaig Scotch Whisky (or any peated Scotch)
Lemon wheel studded with 3-4 cloves, for garnish
Add alcohol, syrup, and bitters to a mug and then top with boiling water. Add garnish to serve.
*Ginger Syrup (yields about 1/3 cup)
2 ounces fresh ginger juice
2 ounces raw sugar
Stir ingredients together until sugar is completely dissolved. Keeps about 1 week, refrigerated.