Like most classic quaffs, the toddy has crashed into the craft cocktail movement, so now, beyond many excellent traditional versions, you can find the toddy template being executed with spirits from aquavit to slivovitz to mescal, and all sorts of citrus and sweeteners. I'm personally a big fan of using tea in toddies, which add new flavours to the palette.
But the classic toddy is as simple as a spec gets: a couple of drops of spirit topped with boiling water, a spoonful of honey, a wheel of citrus and a bit of spice. The better variations of the classic - which you should make when you're healthy and just trying to warm up - lean on good aged spirits. I'm talking overproof, funky aged rums, brandies with oomph, feisty, smoky Islay whiskies, any spirits that get mellowed out by the toddy's softening haze of honey, lemon and steam.
That's the healthy person's classic toddy. If you're attempting to use the toddy as a cold treatment, when you're sick and can't smell or taste anything, don't waste your good booze. In such moments, the toddy is a good place to bury nominal whiskeys, ones you don't want to drink much of neat.
Caribbean Breeze Toddy (Serves 1)
This winter warmer replaces the citrus in a classic hot toddy with hibiscus tea, which is tart, floral and a deep, cheery red. We used a blend of hibiscus and other botanicals, but you can substitute other hibiscus teas; you should be able to find one at any grocery store with a decent tea selection.
3 dashes Angostura bitters
22ml dark rum
22ml ginger liqueur
1 hibiscus tea bag or sachet
150ml boiling water
Lemon wheel pierced with whole cloves, for garnish
Combine the bitters, rum and ginger liqueur in a teacup or small mug.
Add the tea bag, then pour in the boiling water.
Let the drink steep for 4 to 5 minutes, then discard the tea bag.
Add the clove-studded lemon wheel and serve
The Washington Post