Story and Photography by Heather Wibbels
A traditional toddy is simply hot water, honey or syrup, lemon, and whiskey served piping hot in a warm mug, perfect to curl your fingers around. But when fresh apple cider is in season, take advantage and use that as the warm base of your toddy. A cider toddy with a bit of maple syrup, lemon juice, and a dram of your favorite whiskey is extraordinary, yet easy to make at home.
The trick to a delightful toddy is to make sure the serving mug is hot before you build the cocktail in it. Also, because warming whiskey increases its potency and aroma, choose a lower-proof bourbon—between 80 and 95 proof—so that it doesn’t overpower the cocktail. A bourbon or rye with notes of spice and citrus will yield the best results.
Recipe originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Bourbon+, in the article “Barrel-aged Gins: Your Botanical Gateway.”
4 ounces apple cider
1.5 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
0.5 ounce of either infused simple syrup
0.5 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes of Hella Bitters Ginger Bitters or 16 drops of Old Forester Smoked Cinnamon Bitters
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
Apple slice, for garnish
Place a serving mug filled with water in the microwave and heat on high for 1-2 minutes to warm the mug. Pour out the water. Add whiskey, syrup, lemon juice, and bitters, and stir in the mug. Top with piping-hot apple cider. If needed, heat the toddy for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave to make sure it’s very hot when served. Garnish.