For those of you who don’t know me, it’s true, I do love a well-crafted cocktail to soften the edges of a hard day. I’ve often wondered what the drinking culture enjoyed before the advent of the cocktail as it turns out it’s theorized that hot toddy is actually a precursor to its cool cousin, the cocktail.
So, let’s start with the word toddy. Most culinary eggheads trace the word back to Hindi where the word tārī, was a drink made from the fermented sap of a botanical called the “toddy palm”. Colonial era Brits took a shine to these toddies consuming them in mass numbers and eventually the word spread. Here’s the interesting part though, that toddy was not hot. No, it’s said that the hot toddy started its life served cool. As the toddy migrated, as all good drinks do, it found itself in the Caribbean where it was made using the local rum, sugar and spices. Although it was cooked for a bit to melt the sugar and coax the flavor from the spices it was then cooled and drank liberally. This new drink seemingly evolved from the Brit’s toddy was renamed the bombo or in some circles it went by, the bimbo, not to worry dear readers, I’m not going there! But the Scotts’ it’s believed added whisky and the all-important hot water to their version of the toddy not only because they enjoyed it but it did offer a degree of alcoholic insulation to fend off the harsh elements of the Emerald Isle. Finally, a toddy I can recognize!
So here on our shores it’s documented that during the Revolutionary War, the colonists used the toddy not just for its “medicinal” qualities but also as a reason to go join the fight for freedom. Yes, the toddy was liquid courage! Usually produced in large quantities and served in a punch bowl this presentation also seemed to spawn a specific stemware which also became known as the toddy.
As all recipes develop and change over time: it was finally my turn to put my small stamp on the toddy. As is my style I love using ingredients local to my region and maple syrup seems like the perfect sweetener for my toddy. Unlike granulated sugars that might not completely dissolve, the maple syrup blends beautifully. The syrup and assorted spices paired with high quality bourbon is accented with the fresh lemon juice, this drink in a word is, delicious.
But what makes it truly interesting is that you can easily vacuum pack individual drinks and not only benefit from the sous vide cooking style gently blending all those incredible flavors together but you can also use it as a futuristic punch bowl! Make as many toddy’s as you like and leave them in the SV1. Now they are ready and waiting for your guests. All they need to do is fish out a toddy, pour and drink away!
3 ounces water
1/2 - 1 ounce maple syrup, grade b, to taste
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce lemon juice, fresh
1 large lemon peel, fresh, full slice
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 whole anise star
Preheat the SV1 to 70C/158F
Using a vegetable peeler remove a large slice of lemon peel from the whole lemon from top to bottom.
Carefully push the three cloves into the peel, reserve
Using a small individual sized VacMaster bag and using the VacMaster bag filler add the water, maple syrup, bourbon and lemon juice and follow with the cloves, cinnamon, star anise and reserved lemon peel..
Using a VacMaster chamber machine vacuum seal the bagged toddy.
Place in the water bath of the SV1 for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 6 hours
When ready to drink simply pull from the water and pour everything in a warmed mug.