The Vergiliana: Citrus Gin Hot Toddy

A bartender-approved way to bring joy to a cold winter day
49 Ratings
100% would make again
Hot Toddy Recipe from Wooster's Garden
Photo: Brendan McHale

Winter in Texas means more than just a shot at sweater weather. It also means citrus, with the state's best bounty arriving as the mercury dips. At Wooster's Garden in Midtown, the team constantly tweaks the menu to take advantage of the changing seasons, and winter citrus is no exception.

You can expect to find oranges, lemons and limes shaken and stirred into cold and refreshing drinks, but the Wooster's team knows how to lend a bit of warmth to that brightness. Take the Vergiliana, one of Wooster's many seasonal hot toddies. Blending blood orange juice into a cacao-scented cordial, the bar brings in gin, bitter Campari and dry vermouth for a balanced drink that manages to be refreshing even as it lights a fire in your belly.

Orange and Campari are fast friends, and the pair also plays well with chocolate. Gin may be an unexpected toddy tipple (toddies at Wooster's go way beyond bourbon), but its bracing botanicals help keep the rich flavors here in check. It's a little unusual, perhaps, but that's just one of its many charms.

The Vergiliana: Citrus Gin Hot Toddy

Recipe adapted from Steven Salazar, Wooster's Garden, Houston, TX

Yield: 5 toddies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


For the Blood Orange Cordial:

8 blood oranges, juiced (10 to 12 ounces of juice)

12 ounces Tempus Fugit crème de cacao

For the Toddy:

Hot water, for serving

5 ounces blood orange cordial

5 ounces Fords Gin

2½ ounces dry vermouth

2½ ounces Campari

2½ tablespoons simple syrup

5 mint sprigs, for muddling


1. Make the cordial: Combine the blood orange juice with the crème de cacao. Stir gently and set aside. If you are not making toddies right away, keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

2. Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil. In a pitcher, combine the cordial, gin, dry vermouth, Campari and simple syrup. Add the mint and gently muddle.

3. Divide the mixture among 5 rocks glasses and top with the piping hot water. Serve immediately.

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