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Well, it's chilly today, and that bottle of apple brandy is still hanging around, so ...

2 oz Apple Brandy / Applejack

1 spoonful sweet stuff

Orange Peel

4 oz Boiling Water

1 Shake Cinnamon

Grated nutmeg

I find that some expressed citrus rind really perks up a toddy (and technically turns it into a "skin," as in, "I'll have a Whiskey Skin because it's cold out and also it's 1850.")

Sugar works fine here, but maple syrup or honey are more interesting. If you do this right, you will be making a few of these to really dial it in to your tastes. That's right, I'm handing you a Montessori cocktail — it's even apple-based. There's definitely a good joke here somewhere...

Part of the joy of home bartending versus going out to a bar is finding YOUR version of a particular drink.

Your personal taste is also what makes your hospitality special to others and there are definitely worse ways to spend a cold, late-winter evening than sipping your way through five different versions of a hot toddy, so lay some ingredients on the counter, put on a good movie or crack open a board game and get to tinkering. When you make one that resonates, I HIGHLY recommend writing it down — I even have a chalkboard in my kitchen just for this purpose. Sometimes I wake up to find some pretty good drinks written down on it...

Let me know how it goes. Get inventive; this is only a framework, after all. Ask yourself, can I taste everything in this glass, or has the flavor gotten "muddy"? Is each ingredient serving a specific purpose? Does this drink taste balanced? (A good test for me is: Would I want to drink two in a row?)

Drink well.


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