Normally, Hot Toddies are considered winter drinks, meant to be imbibed in the cold months of the year to warm the body up. However, there’s no good reason to avoid the occasional hot beverage in the summertime, especially on a cooler evening or in more temperate locales. The London Toddy might be served warm, but it’s enjoyable any time of the year thanks to its bright and herbal profile.
One aspect of the London Toddy that makes it more summertime-friendly (and where it gets inspiration for its name) is the base spirit. Rather than the ubiquitous Hot Toddy bases—bourbon, cognac, aged rum—this concoction starts with gin. A good London dry is the way to go here, but you don’t need to be too picky—whatever you use for your Negroni or Martini will do the job.
Another way the London Toddy distinguishes itself from others in the category is in its choice of sweetener. The recipe calls for a cardamom rock candy syrup, which is essentially a simple syrup flavored with cardamom and vanilla bean. A delicious product itself, it can also be used in your favorite Old Fashioned recipe to add an herbal kick, or to boost the botanicals in an aquavit drink.
Finally, in addition to the requisite hot water, the London Toddy calls for a few healthy dashes of both Angostura and Peychaud’s Bitters. These not only give the drink color, but also a deep botanical profile to bolster that of the gin. The result is hot, herbal and lush while remaining bright and crisp, perfect for a late summer evening.
- 6 ounces gin
- 4 1/2 ounces cardamom rock candy syrup*
- 4 1/2 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 20 ounces hot water
- 6 dashes Angostura bitters
- 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Garnish: Star anise
- Garnish: Lemon wheels
Combine the gin, cardamom rock candy syrup, lemon juice, hot water, Angostura bitters and Peychaud’s bitters in a heat-proof pitcher and stir to combine.
Garnish with whole star anise pods and thinly sliced lemon wheels.
*Cardamom rock candy syrup: Combine 8 ounces water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cardamom and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, let cool and strain.