Winter finally arrived here in Colorado to the tune of 12-16″ of snow at my house. And that doesn’t even begin to compare to what the Northeast has seen. But, you know what that means, friends? It’s time for hot drinks, with booze. I went for a hike in the snow yesterday and I definitely needing the warming strength of a toddy when I got home.
A traditional Hot Toddy is simply spirits, hot water, some spices and a bit of sweetness. I wanted to stay semi-traditional but combine the classic toddy with hot mulled cider. My thought process was a little fragmented starting with apple juice (duh) and brewed black tea, maybe some spices… But that led to a stroke of genius (can I call myself a genius?). Chai concentrate, specifically Bhakti Chai concentrate. Bhakti is highly spiced, full of ginger spiciness and already sweetened. Add a touch of water to bring the sweetness down and the Spiced Apple Toddy was born.
But, hold your horses. We need to talk liquor for a moment. Surprising, I know. Like I say in the Hot Toddy post, you have to go with a brown liquor. There is something inherently warming about a barrel aged spirit. For me, the only real option is whiskey. Or in this case, whisky. Whisky’s flavor profile of vanilla, oak, caramel and spices just works too perfectly and it has a certain gravitas. I mean, you never hear of an old timer pulling out his flask of bubble gum vodka.
For this cocktail, I reached for George Dickel No. 12. It has a bold but smooth character that gives it the spine to stand up to the bold flavors of the chai and sweetness of the juice. Plus, that boldness isn’t harsh which lets it blend into the cocktail in a truly harmonious way. Pro tip time. Keep the pour of whisky a bit light. Lets you hydrate, warms you up AND makes is way easier when you want a second…or ninth.
Spiced Apple Toddy
3 oz Apple Juice 3 oz Bhakti Chai Concentrate 2 oz Water 1 1/4 oz George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky Orange Twist Slice of Apple
1) Combine the chai, apple juice and water and heat to nearly boiling 2) Mix in the whisky 3) Garnish with an apple slice and an orange twist
Final thoughts. You can (and should) switch up the chai, juice and whisky for whatever your personal favorites are. But if you haven’t had Bhakti Chai, you really need to. The same goes for the water, tweak that amount to whatever fits your palate. This cocktail, like any, is meant to make you (or your guests) happy. So do what works for you.
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.