Food - Drink
The Disputed Origin Of The Hot Toddy
BY DEBORAH MARTIN
A hot toddy is a warm cocktail consisting of whiskey, honey, lemon, cinnamon, and cloves, and it is often used as a cure for the sniffles. It thrives on its reputation as a homey and comforting beverage, but its origins are anything but simple, and may have began in 17th-century India with a fermented palm sap drink called "taddy."
Hot toddy's British roots may have taken hold when British officials in colonized India used taddy to water down imported beer from home. The oldest recorded taddy recipe is from 1786, where it was described as liquor mixed with hot water, spices, and sugar instead of palm sap, and ginger and lime were also sometimes included.
Taddy evolved as the drink traveled to Scotland and England, and one recipe by Victorian writer Mrs. Beeton includes linseed, sun raisins, and licorice. However, another story says that hot toddy was invented in the 1800s by Irish doctor Robert Bentley Todd, who prescribed a mix of hot brandy, water, cinnamon, and sugar as a general cure-all.
As for yet another perspective, both stories may be true; Dr. Todd might have heard about Indian taddy and created his own version. Today, toddies have evolved even further: in Jamaica, rum may replace the whiskey; in America, bourbon is often added; and fashionable variants may add fruit juice or chill the drink for a cold toddy.