Nothing soothes the soul on a crisp October night like a steaming hot toddy.
Luckily, the old-school cocktail—which, according to Wikipedia, was first introduced into Scotland by a British Member of the East India Company—is surging in popularity this fall.
Particularly in Brooklyn, cozy watering-holes are putting a gourmet spin on the piping hot brew of whiskey, lemon and honey. This week, we investigated the borough’s tastiest takes on the toddy and, in the process, may have cured a nagging fall cold.
1. Enid’s, 560 Manhattan Avenue
Noticing my October sniffles, one waiter remarked, “a Toddy will fix that right up.” Of course, he was right: a simple but satisfying concoction of lemon, honey, cloves, hot water and strong whiskey, Enid’s toddy was the most traditional of of our sampling. Be sure to dunk your lemon wedge (which comes smothered in cloves) to add a needed touch of tang and spice.
2. Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Avenue
Next, our toddy tour took us around the corner to the Manhattan Inn, a dimly-lit bar and restaurant known for its live piano performances and a nutmeg macaroni and cheese. Here, stylish bartendress Tyler does a flavorful take on a Toddy using home-made spicy honey, Mexican mole bitters, whiskey and a traditional lemon garnish. Perhaps the most inventive of the bunch, the spicy honey notes felt exactly right paired with the warmth of the whiskey. We’ll be keeping this one in mind for the first winter snowstorm.
3. Dumont Burger, 314 Bedford Avenue
When we announced on Instagram that we were doing a toddy tour, Dumont Burger was an overwhelming recommendation. And with good reason. Their version is concocted from Old Forrester whiskey, lemon, honey, cinnamon sticks and and just a touch of Saint Elizabeth’s aromatic allspice dram, this toddy—which was served in a cider glass rather than a ceramic mug—had us toasty enough to peel off a few fall layers.
4. Hotel Delmano, 82 Berry Street
No toddy tour would be complete without a visit to Hotel Delmano, one of the borough’s most elegant cocktail destinations. Given the girliness of the setting, we weren’t surprised to find that Delmano’s take on the toddy was easily the sweetest, with an ample dose of honey and heaping spoonfuls of fragrant cloves. Maybe it’s the bar’s old Victorian appeal, but there was something decidedly Christmas-y about this version, which—like the toddy at Dumont—came served in an elegant hot cider glass.
5. The Bedford, 110 Bedford Avenue, entrance on the corner of North 11th
The moody black-painted bar located in a separate, leather-furbished space around the corner from The Bedford eatery is one of the best-kept secrets in Brooklyn. It’s also one of the only spots to offer a rum-version of the Toddy, mixed with piping-hot camomile tea and just a squeeze of lemon. The combination may sound peculiar, but we polished off an entire mug.