“Right then. #ToddyTime, old boy?” / “Oh I should say so!"
And then it rained for days. So I got out the old jazz records and I put the kettle on and, “April,” I said, “Let’s you and I have one for the road.”
An oft-overlooked perk of the highly variable spring weather is that one can sneak in the last few little joys of cold-weather living before packing it all away until September. One last chance to wear that comfy-soft gray flannel suit; one more sleepy morning feeling relieved to be indoors rather than just plain lazy for rising well after sunrise; and one last evening cuddled up on the couch drinking toddies.
I love toddies. They are the portrait of simplicity: easy to assemble, easy to enjoy, a perfectly designed little teacup full of goodness. Did I mention it’s been raining for days?
The secret to making a good toddy is not to try too hard. The strength of this drink lies in its rugged simplicity, and any attempts to reinvent the wheel will mostly go unrewarded. So just pick a liquor (rum, brandy, gin, whiskey) and do in this wise:
Shovel a teaspoon of sugar into a teacup. Add a little water, just off the boil, to dissolve it, then drop in 2 ounces or so of spirit, and top with boiling water. Grate a little nutmeg on top. Drain slowly and repeat — they go down easily. Consider that next week you may be drinking a daiquiri in the hot sun and smile into your cup.
Your standard china teacup holds 6 ounces — if you steep your tea bags in an 8-ounce coffee mug and wonder why your tea tastes watery, well, there you go — and makes a pleasant sound when it touches a saucer. I highly recommend it. The sugar can be white or raw. If you want to add in a lemon twist, go ahead; you’ve got yourself a “whiskey skin” (or rum or whatever), but I discourage embellishment beyond this, for now. There really is no substitute for freshly grated nutmeg.