A Perfectly Nice Drink

maxresdefaultYes, Christmas and New Year’s Day are over, and their celebrations too. But now in most of the country, winter has newly arrived, and it isn’t going away any time soon. Nor are politics, for that matter.

What to do?

Well, keep warm and forget politics with a hot toddy.

What’s that?

Try this, in a coffee mug: 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, and a quarter cup of hot water. If you use Koval Single Barrel Bourbon, you have a Koval Hot Toddy.

Or try this Vanilla Hot Toddy: 1.25 ounces of Crown Royal Vanilla, 1 teaspoon fine grain sugar, 2 small cloves, and 1.5 ounces of boiling water.

And earlier, to take Cole Porter as an authority, his 1934 song “You’re the Top” includes among the tops “A Ritz hot toddy,” referring to the toddy served at the Ritz hotel in Paris.

Got it? Now that you have your hot toddy, you can relax and drink this in:

Ordinarily I’d start a Lingua Franca post with linguistic information, but it was too cold to wait. I’d call on the expertise of the Oxford English Dictionary to explain that today’s toddy goes back to the Marathi language of India, as a designation for a sweet wine, and that it appears in English with that meaning as early as the 17th century.

In the 18th century, hot was prefixed to toddy to designate the drink we are familiar with today. The term applies to countless varieties, all united by alcohol, sugar or honey, spices, and hot water.

Its efficacy is expressed in James Taylor’s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”  Toward the end of the dialogue he sings to his reticent guest (Natalie Cole):

- Darling, as a friend …

- Sure, James.

- As a friend, you … you must stay and warm up by this fire a little bit. Let me get you … let me get  you a hot toddy or something.

- Well, I really can’t. My mother will worry about me.

- People are so suspicious. It’s just an innocent suggestion. You stay warm and keep yourself healthy, that’s all.

- It’s nippy out there. It’s cold. Oh, you know, that drink does look kinda nice.

- It is a perfectly nice drink.

Wouldn’t you stay awhile too?



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