Craft Cocktails: How to Make a Mean Hot Toddy

Turning an old wintertime standby into a modern craft cocktail.

By Erik Eastman, Easy & Oskey
Photos by James Eastman


We all remember Bob Ross, right? The host of the legendary PBS series The Joy of Painting was likely the most positive fella you’d ever want to watch paint happy little footy hills with happy little trees. This issue, we allow some of our favorite Bob Ross quotes to be our guide as we navigate this simultaneously bright and rich, soothing and comforting, seasonally appropriate cocktail: The Hot Toddy.

Why? Because the Toddy is like an episode of The Joy of Painting—it looks so easy but is actually a little tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.


“Even if you’ve never painted before, this one you can do.”

•          Hot water, sugar and booze. You got this.

“We don’t make mistakes, we have happy little accidents.”

•          Make sure your Toddy is piping hot, and strong.  If so, you’re doing it right.

“We’re gonna make some big decisions in our little world.”


•          The Water: To give the drink depth, we like to use hot tea instead of water. The wonderfully intricate Laoshan Apothecary Green Tea from Verdant Tea on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis is an excellent choice.

•          The Sugar: While a quality honey will do, we like to use a brown sugar–mint simple syrup. The brown sugar adds richness, while the mint accentuates the brightness of the tea.

•          The Booze: We’ve chosen Pusser’s Rum here because it’s our happy little world.  Maybe in your world, there’s bourbon or brandy or cognac or…

•          Autumn Spice bitters made with our “Naked” kit are a current favorite of ours. Use them liberally, mainly as an ingredient but also as a garnish on the finished drink. There, the aromatics of the bitters are showcased and beautifully juxtaposed against the addition of Meyer lemon. The recipe for these bitters is included here. That’ll be our little secret.

Related Post: Making (Nay, Crafting) a Negroni

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