This time of year brings no shortage of baked treats, cold nights, and good times with family and friends. One thing that goes well with all of them? A hot beverage that warms the tummy.
While coffee and tea are the most popular choices, I tend to avoid caffeine after a certain hour of the evening. And because of the headaches they induced, I found myself having to avoid libations with spirits in them. Yet I still craved the kick that comes from a hot toddy.
This led to experimenting with various infusions that would warm my soul but wouldn’t hurt my head, not to mention also be appropriate for those of all ages.
The result is my Teetotaler’s Toddy, a hot, non-alcoholic drink that provides plenty of kick thanks to fresh ginger and a pinch of cayenne, yet sweetness and depth from honey and cinnamon. Like a traditional toddy, it’s a snap to make. If you can boil water, you’re halfway there. Here’s how to finish it:
(Makes 1 serving)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, smashed or run through press
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of cayenne powder
- 8-10 ounces boiling water
- Garnish: Cinnamon stick, fresh mint
Step 1: Fresh ginger, found in the produce section, is amazing stuff. If you’ve never used it, here’s your introduction. Cut off a small chuck, skin and all, and run it through a garlic press or grater, or macerate it with mortar and pestle.
Step 2: Put the ginger and its precious juice in your favorite mug, along with all the other ingredients except the boiling water.
Step 3: Carefully pour the water into your mug, stir, and add the mint and cinnamon stick. Let the toddy infuse for five minutes. Taste and modify to your liking with more honey, ginger, etc.
Congratulations: You’ve just made a toddy that anyone can enjoy. If desired, strain. Or, if you find yourself particularly enjoying the ginger, leave it in the cup and nibble it as you go.