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Hot Toddies and Tea

Writing articles for this site has been something of a learning experience for me lately. One of the last topics I wrote about was cream tea, about which I knew absolutely nothing prior to getting started. From there we turn to the topic of the hot toddy. Which is a term I’ve probably heard all my life without ever taking the trouble to find out what it meant.

Irish Breakfast Tea (ETS image)
Irish Breakfast Tea (ETS image)

Those in the know are already aware that the hot toddy, as the name suggests, is a drink that’s served warm and which can vary widely, depending on whom you ask. But in its more traditional form it consists of boiling water mixed in with something that’s got a kick, as well as a bit of sugar and lemon or lemon peel.

The variations on this basic theme are probably only limited by the imagination and, given that it’s often served hot, it’s not surprising that tea sometimes finds its way into the mix. Since I don’t actually drink anything stronger than tea nowadays, I won’t be doing any experimenting with toddy recipes, but it seems to me that a robust black tea would be the best choice for such a concoction.

But green tea, orange spice, chamomile, and spiced chai are just a few of the various teas and tisanes I’ve seen suggested as an add-on to a toddy and like most things food and beverage related, this a matter of personal taste. So pardon me if my black tea bias is showing. However, it’s black tea – and specifically Irish breakfast tea – that’s featured in this recipe from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. It also calls for some sweetening with honey and added flavoring from cinnamon, lemon, and nutmeg.

I have discoursed on the topic of perfect tea more times than I can count now. But there are those who persist in advising us as to how we can come up with a perfect cup of tea, or a perfect cream tea, or even a perfect hot toddy, if you must know.

As a blogger for one of the British papers did a while back. Though she only mentioned tea in passing – a chai-based variation on the toddy as offered up by another publication. I don’t know if you’ll achieve toddy perfection by trying any of the recommendations given there but you’re certainly welcome to try. Blending your favorite tea into the mix probably isn’t a bad way to try to get to that exalted plateau.

Disclaimer: Please drink responsibly.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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