Before today’s era of erecting protective bubbles around children, many youth’s first experience with alcohol in decades past was imbibing a hot toddy when ill or when winter chill set in. Blame old-school parenting. Or else blame the Scots, who are generally considered the originators of the term if not the historic hot beverage itself.

A hot toddy is typically a mixed drink made with some sort of liquor, water, sugar and spices, served hot. Traditionally it’s served before going to bed or when the weather is damp and cold. In generations past it was also utilized as a treatment for the common cold and particularly for youngsters, although today we know it might be more harmful than helpful. Still it often put young drinkers to sleep, which might have been its intended purpose.

Serving minors hot toddies today might result in a phone call to DHS (if it still exists), but adults certainly can, and many likely will with the onset of Oklahoma’s cold, damp winter.

For a traditional hot toddy with Scottish influence, dissolve a teaspoon of honey in a small amount of boiled water in a mug, add 1-2 teaspoons of whiskey and top with more boiled water. Add a cinnamon stick and one clove, let steep for five minutes and then remove both from the mix. Lastly add a slice of lemon, a pinch of nutmeg and serve. Variations in spirit and seasoning abound online and in the recipe books of older folks today who remember well how to get a good night’s sleep—even when beset with sniffling children

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