The Memphis Toddy
My introduction to the traditional Christmas Wassail was not, in fact all that traditional. I was down in Planet Mobile, Alabama, though, and they are known for putting their own twist on things. I was also an undergraduate, and that really does explain a lot. The recipe for this traditionally minded crowd was vodka in an old-fashioned coffee percolator with a box of red-hots in the basket. It wasn’t bad, I remember, but I was certain that someone had ruined a perfectly good coffee percolator.
Now you can buy a bottle of something very similar with a pint of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky from Sazerac. Like Mobile red-hot wassail, though it is best left to the undergraduates.
Of course, you could set about making your holiday wassail the traditional way, and if I knew how I’d tell you how – this certainly seems like the column for that sort of thing. Sadly, this is one of those traditional drinking rabbit holes that I’ve never gone down.
There are options. Like Die Hard becoming a Christmas movie, I’m not sure the good people at Old Dominick set out to make a great holiday toddy, but that’s what they did. It’s made of their high-rye bourbon and an “array of natural ingredients.” You get honey, citrus notes, ginger and that high-rye spice.
Granted, the producers likely don’t want the Memphis Toddy being completely tied to the holidays but there is something warming about it without the obnoxious heat and sweet of Fireball. It’s all a bit more subtle than that… and right now the world needs a little more subtle. Put a twist on an old fashioned, in a mug with hot water and a lemon slice and you’ve got a hot toddy, or just neat.