Tactical Intoxication Program: S6E02 “Three to Tango”

I’ll be honest. I’m not sure how to approach this weeks TIP. Like many drinks, its history is mostly conjecture past a certain point, and there are two prevailing theories for how it came to be. I tend to dive down a rabbit hole when researching these posts, but I just don’t have the time to dive down both. Let’s just dip our feet in and see how we feel about each.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, there were two wells by which the town used to get it’s fresh water. Nowadays, the city is much larger, and pumps in water from the Pentland Hills, 20 miles away. But back in the early 18th century, and certainly prior, the two wells were Todian Spring and St. Anthony’s Well (located near Arthur’s Seat, a lumpy hill that I’ve been told is famous).

Anyway.

Due to a footnote in a poem, published in 1721, by Edinburgh’s native son, Allan Ramsay, we know that Todian Spring was referred to by the locals as “Tod’s Well”.

This is where the conjecture kicks into high gear.

If we take water from Tod’s Well, boil it, pour it over some sugar, maybe a bit of tea, and maybe add a bit of whisky (which derives it’s name from a Gaelic term meaning “water of life”), you might call a drink like that, a Hot Toddy.

Not bad.

Not the worst story ever.

Could be true.

However, there was already a fermented beverage, that seafaring Scotts would have known about in their dealings with the East India Trading Company, called Toddy. It’s a spirit made in india and other parts of South Asia, by draining palm leaves from theToddy Tree, and fermenting the sap. When you distilled toddy, you end up with a product known as Arrack. Arrack was a very popular ingredient in punch. Punch gets it’s name from the hindi word “panch”, or 5. There are 5 main ingredients to punch:

  • Water
  • Spirit
  • Lemon
  • Sugar
  • Tea/Spice

So even here, we have a rather dubious string of associations. Toddy is distilled into Arrack, which is used in Punch, which basically has the primary ingredients to make a Hot Toddy? I don’t know if I entirely believe it.

Luckily, I don’t have to, and neither do you.

We just have to shut up and drink it.

Here’s how:

HOT TODDY

Hot Toddies are not cocktails. They were invented LONG before the cocktail, and because of that they have LOTS of variation. The Toddy recipe you think is correct is likely the one that your grandma made. So maybe you don’t like tea in yours, or maybe you put ginger soda in it, or maybe you like cinnamon or nutmeg, or scotch or rye whiskey or whatever… point is, this is one recipe. It’s one that gets referenced by Archer this week, so it’s the one we’re gonna make.

  1. Begin by setting some water to boil.
  2. Fill a mug 2/3s full of the boiling water, and steep a bag of black tea for 3 minutes (more or less time depending on how much tea flavor you like).
  3. After you’re done steeping, remove the tea and add 1 tsp of honey or sugar. (use more or less, depending on your taste.
  4. Squeeze, a small wedge of lemon into the mug.
  5. Add 2oz of bourbon, and stir.

Are you more of a visual learner? I made a video just for you.

 

FOOD/ALTERNATE

Archer makes a Yerba Mate and Caña smoothie. I honestly don’t even know where to begin with that. But, assuming by Caña, he means a generic term for rum, then this recipe here might not be a bad starting point. I’d probably add like, 2 ounces of golden rum if you’ve got it. Otherwise some other spiced/dark rum will likely work well (Captain Morgan, Kraken, Goslings, Meyers, etc).

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