I have a confession to make about my time in Louisville.
I had Manhattans, I had bourbon straight, I had chocolate balls of bourbon, pecan pies doused in it, Mint Juleps, you name it.
But never once did I have a hot toddy.
I made it for the first time this year because I live in Wisconsin and it’s a frozen tundra during the winter. I absolutely loved the way it all blended together to create a soothing taste that warmed me up as I sipped it. And so, I did what any food blogger would do: I snapped a picture and sent it to one of my best friends, the foodie behind West Loop Soul.
The reaction was positive, as expected, until I told her it was my first hot toddy.
I now picture her throwing up her hands in exasperation at her desk as she types back the following response:
THE FIRST TIME?!
ONLY THE FIRST TIME?!?!?!
I KNOW, I respond.
If you’ve never made a hot toddy before, you should know that with the exception of the bourbon itself, you’ve probably already got every ingredient that you would need. They’re all kitchen staples. In fact, for weeks, my bottle of bourbon has been sitting right beside the other key ingredient: honey.
I should mention this recipe isn’t your typical “Chews” post. I’m launching a new project on Chews and News called “Ingredient of the Year,” and chose bourbon for 2018. That means every month, I’ll have a different drink or dish for you that somehow incorporates bourbon. I’ll also tell you stories behind the recipes and the distilleries that are featured.
In the spirit of kicking off a new adventure, I chose to begin with a new bourbon distilling company that’s also experiencing a year of firsts. Rabbit Hole is just months away from opening a physical location on Lousiville’s urban bourbon trail, right in the heart of the NuLu neighborhood. The three-story distillery will celebrate its grand opening on the eve of the Kentucky Derby this May, with a soft opening beforehand.
Rabbit Hole’s founder, Kaveh Zamanian, told me during an interview this past fall that his wife, Heather, came up with the name for the company, telling me, “It felt like a really good fit, because it’s an adventure going down the rabbit hole. You don’t really know where you’re going to end up, but you know that wherever you end up, you’re not going to be the same person.”
I’ll raise a glass to that.
Hot mixed drink with bourbon, hot water, lemon and honey... perfect for a cold winter day.
- 2 tbs bourbon
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pour the bourbon and honey into a mug. Squeeze in the lemon juice.
Heat up water on the stove until tiny bubbles start to form.
Pour water into mug.
Stir it up and take a sip!