Hot Toddy Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Whisky (or Whiskey), lemon juice, spices, honey - It's good for what ails you!" ~ Traditional
The classic cure for a winter cold, the Hot Toddy's origins are unknown but was a popular drink in Scotland by the 1700s. One theory attributes the name to Allan Ramsay's 1781 poem, “The Morning Interview”, which mentions Edinburgh's Todian Spring (also called Tod’s Well). Another theory suggests that the cocktail may have been named for toddy, an Indian drink made from fermented palm tree sap, reinvented by British traders on their return to Scotland by mixing tea, scotch and sweetener. Yet another theory attributes the term to 19th century British physician, Richard Bentley Todd, who promoted the concoction for medicinal use. Whatever the case, even doctors today concede that the ingredients may both help you feel better have actual medicinal value in the honey, lemon, spices, and even the whisky, which contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
A Hot Toddy
A hot toddy, also known as a hot totty, hot tottie, or hot whisky, is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with honey (or, in some recipes, sugar), herbs or spices (such as tea, cinnamon, cloves, anise or other spices) and served hot.
Hot toddy recipes vary and are traditionally imbibed before retiring for the night, or in wet or cold weather.
Some believe the drink relieves (or makes you forget) the symptoms of the cold and flu.
Theories about as to the origin of the name. One contender is Dublin-born physician, Robert Bentley Todd (1809–1860), known for his prescription of a hot drink of brandy, canella (white cinnamon), sugar syrup and water, gave the "hot toddy" its name.
Other Scottish-origin theories attribute the name to Allan Ramsay's 1781 poem, “The Morning Interview”, which mentions Todian Spring, also called Tod’s Well. This well was the main water supply to Edinburgh, Scotland. Yet another theory suggests that the cocktail may have been named for toddy, an Indian drink made from fermented palm tree sap, reimagined by British traders on their return to Scotland, who replicated the drink with scotch and sugar or honey (for the palm tree syrup).
Whatever the case, even doctors concede that the ingredients may both help you feel better have medicinal value in the honey, lemon, spices, and even the whisky, which contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which studies suggest may help treat viral and bacterial infections!
For a list of hot toddy recipes to chase away that winter cold or blues, click the toddy graphic below.