In the days before central heating, when the hearth was the only source of warmth in a frigid abode, the Hot Toddy was a necessity to fill a cold, weary body with warmth. The name “Toddy” is either from the name of juice from a palm tree or from the “Todian Spring” or “Tod’s Well,” the water supply for Edinburgh, Scotland. The drink is actually a form of punch, a mixed alcoholic drink popular in the wild and wooly era of the British Empire, then America a few centuries back. Punches are built upon 5 elements: sour, sweet, strong (referring to alcohol), weak (referring to nonalcoholic beverages) and spice in various relative proportions. In the traditional American Toddy, sour comes from lemons, sweet from sugar, strong from single malt Scotch whiskey, weak generally from tea, and spice from nutmeg.
1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
½ cup sugar
1 quart water
2½ cups Scotch whiskey
Freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the lemon, sugar, and water in a 2 to 3-quart slow cooker set to high. Cover and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the Scotch whiskey and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and serve warm with lemon slices and freshly grated nutmeg. Enough for 13 four-ounce servings.
(Recipe courtesy of Good Eats)