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How to Make The Perfect Hot Toddy For Thanksgiving

Jessica Gonzalez has been in the service industry for over 20 years and has worked at top New York bars such as Death & Company and NoMad.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, we caught up with leading New York bartender Jessica Gonzalez to find out more about serving a hot toddy during this special occasion.

Why you should make a hot toddy

Thanksgiving preparations are always labor intensive, so the drinks you prepare should be an easy accent to your festivities. The hot toddy is a simple drink that can easily be made to please a crowd of loved ones. The drink is pleasantly warming on a cold day, it has all of the comforting aromas we associate with the holidays, yet it's light enough that it won’t ruin dinner. Or you can serve your toddies after dinner as the perfect companion to desserts like pumpkin pie and apple cobbler. This cocktail is sure to be a Thanksgiving tradition in the making.

The typical hot toddy is made with honey, Bourbon and hot water. Often people switch things up by making it with tea or cider or by substituting Brandy or Cognac for the Whisky. My recipe keeps to the simplicity of the toddy’s roots while elevating the drink for the cocktail connoisseur. It is sure to have your customers in awe of your skills while declaring, “This is the best hot toddy I've ever tasted!”

Honey

As for honey, I like to get mine from a local beekeeper I know, which is quite the treat to taste. Her honey is flavored by the local nectar the bees gather and bring to their hives. It captures the flavor from the flowers in the area which gives a distinct quality. Have fun with your honey choice when you shop around or try to pick some up from a local beekeeper. I recommend acacia honey, but there are so many different types of honey out there to use as a sweetener that you can't go wrong.

Garnish

Keeping with the theme of simplicity, I personally prefer to limit my garnishes to save myself trouble when cleaning up. There are a lot of ways to garnish a toddy: cinnamon sticks, anise or apple slices, to name a few. For this recipe I simply slice a lemon into wheels and place cloves into the flesh. I then float the wheel on top of the toddy and breathe in all of the aromas of the autumn season.

Whisky

I’m a big fan of Whisky and I love the way blending them can create even more complexities in a cocktail. JOHNNIE WALKER Black Label is a blend of 40 different Scotches so why not add some bourbon to that mix? The bold character of BULLEIT Bourbon and the notes of toasted oak in JOHNNIE WALKER Black Label are a perfect match. Using a couple dashes of Peychaud's bitters balances and brightens the drink while adding notes of anise and nutmeg. All of these are must-have additions to your bar for making other old standbys like the Sazerac or a Bobby Burns.

My hot toddy recipe

This Thanksgiving when you're putting together your wish list to create an atmospheric holiday in your bar, add these ingredients to make my hot toddy recipe. You won't be disappointed.

.75 oz. BULLEIT Bourbon

.75 oz. JOHNNIE WALKER Back Label Blended Scotch Whisky
.25 oz. honey
2 Dashes Pey chaud's bitters
3 oz.Hot water
Lemon wheel and cloves to garnish

METHOD:

Boil water
Add Whiskey Bourbon and bitters to a mug
Add hot water and stir in honey.
Insert cloves into flesh and lemon wheel and float on top.

Here is another recipe to create the perfect hot toddy in your bar this Thanksgiving:

Hot Johnnie Ginger with lemon

METHOD:

Add ginger syrup to a glass.
Pour in JOHNNIE WALKER Red Label, orange bitters and hot water.
Stir slowly.
Garnish with lemon.

(*One standard drink contains 0.6oz. of alcohol)