By Eva Kosmas Flores
Once the air gets crisp and cool and all the leaves have fallen off the trees, like most folks, I tend to become a bit of a homebody and use it as an excuse to curl up by the fire, eat lots of comfort food, and enjoy a hot drink. Whether I’m unwinding with my family, or entertaining guests during the holidays, this is my go-to mixed drink for the season. It combines the warmth and earthy notes of a hot cup of tea with the brightness of fresh-squeezed lemon, and a bit of comforting maple syrup to sweeten up and smooth out the edges of the drink. Traditionally most folks make this with whiskey, but you can feel free to substitute rum or brandy instead if that’s more your speed. The best part is how easy they are to make, though, especially if you want to make a larger batch and have it in a pot with a ladle for folks to self-serve when hosting a holiday gathering.
Ingredients for Maple Hot Toddy
4 cups water
2 bags quality black tea
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2/3 cup fine whiskey or brandy
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 lemon, cut into quarters
Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tea bags, cinnamon, and cloves and bring the heat down to the lowest setting. Allow the bags to soak for 5 minutes, stirring every minute, or until the mixture turns a slight reddish brown. Remove the tea bags, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves and discard them. Stir the whiskey or brandy into the tea and remove from heat. Set the mixture aside.
Evenly distribute the maple syrup between 4 serving glasses. Squeeze a lemon quarter above each of the 4 glasses and discard the drained wedges. Evenly distribute the tea mixture between the glasses and stir thoroughly before serving.