- Jessica Bryce Young
- The hot toddy is a seasonal classic.
“I just love that sweater,” she said. “That color. It’s a great seasonal.”
Everyone loves a compliment, right? I smiled and wrapped that one around myself while searching for a ripe Hass in a pyramid of rock-hard avocados. Deftly executing a Jenga-type maneuver to pluck out the only one from the middle of the stack without letting them all tumble to the floor, I heard the same employee a few feet away extolling pumpkin-spice-flavored pumpkin seeds to another customer. “They’re a great seasonal,” she chirped.
The hot toddy is a seasonal classic, updated. Smoky, warm and rich, it will hug you like your favorite sweater.
Lapsang Souchong gets its campfire flavor from being dried over wood fires rather than air-drying, like most black tea. (Locally, you can find it at Central Market). The smoky essence of the tea gives this rye cocktail a Scotch-like aroma, without squandering precious single-malt, and that rich smoky flavor coordinates perfectly with applejack, a brandy made of apple cider aged to a bourbon-like sweetness (Laird & Co., until recently the only licensed distillers of applejack in the U.S., holds the very first commercial distilling license issued in America. Almost 100 years after they set up shop, George Washington wrote to the Lairds asking for their recipe). Mesquite honey also has a smoky, piney taste, and green Chartreuse, as always, lends a sharper herbal note. If it’s too much smoke, add hot water until it’s right for you.
- 1 ounce whiskey or brandy
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Lemon wedge
- Hot water
- 4 ounces double-strength Lapsang Souchong tea
- 1 ounce rye whiskey
- 1 1/2 ounces applejack
- 1 teaspoon green Chartreuse
- 1 tablespoon mesquite honey