The hot toddy is the quintessential wintertime drink. Typically served at ski lodges and similar destinations, it is best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire after a cold day spent braving the elements. Although not known for certain where the origin of the name is from, the toddy itself does have a storied history. Although some say it originated in the 1700s from the Todian Spring in Scotland, it is most likely from India, as toddy is the word for the ‘sap’ of the coconut tree found throughout the region. When Jack Frost nips at your nose, he’s surely advocating a trip to discover one of the best hot toddies in town, and the establishments listed below are the city’s top contenders.
Is there a blizzard outside? Not to worry, simply prepare a toddy within the comfort of your own home, following the instructions below. Adjust according to your tastes.
- 1 ounce brandy, rum or whiskey
- 1 ounce honey
- 4 ounces hot water
- A slice of lemon, whole cloves pierced into the rind
- Cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a glass mug. Place water in a teapot and bring to a rolling boil. Add water to fill mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Some Michiganders may want to substitute 4 ounces of Vernors Ginger Ale.
2644 Harrison St.
Detroit, MI 48216
www.nancywhiskeydetroit.comSettle down at the bar and prepare to truly enjoy your stay. The environment is welcoming and comfortable, and the bartender, gracious. The signature toddy is made using an interesting selection of spirits, such as honey-infused bourbon and cinnamon-infused whiskey, among other ingredients, resulting in a drink that will have you wishing for Old Man Winter to swing through town so you can order another. Nancy Whiskey has different variations of hot toddies available, dependent upon your liquor preferences. Irish whiskey is the popular choice at Nancy Whiskey, and understandably so.
2130 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48026
www.sugarhousedetroit.comWalk through the sweeping curtains and enter into the land of hot toddies. Sugar House has an entire extra menu devoted to warming your bones on a blustery winter’s eve. This establishment has the art of the craft cocktail on lock down, and the toddy is no exception. Mixologists prepare the libations in front of you, with some drinks entailing more showmanship than usual. Other cocktails simply need a lot of stirring, measuring and pouring. The end result is beverages of perfection that are created by someone closer resembling a chemist, not just your average bartender. Offerings at the Sugar House change seasonally, so now is the time to venture out into the cold.
5169 Trumbull St.
Detroit, MI 48208
www.woodbridgepub.comWoodbridge Pub offers a warm respite from the lake-effect snow that pummels us throughout the long and painfully cold season. With its charming staff and superlative service, you may have found your new favorite spot to hibernate this winter. The ambiance is perfect for relaxing with a mug of hot spirits. The bartenders here mix up a mean toddy, starting with a base of Earl Grey tea which is infused in the hot water. Wednesday is trivia night and Pie-Sci pizza is featured on the menu every Sunday. Woodbridge Pub also serves Sunday brunch.Related: Best Happy Hour Bars in Detroit
23810 Woodward Ave.
Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069
www.metroalive.com/corkwinepubCork Wine Pub is a cozy establishment, perfect for spending an evening sipping a hot toddy. With its inviting atmosphere and comfortable decor, it is a nice place to relax when the frigid temperatures set in. Cork also stocks a selection of fine craft cocktails, local beers and a vast wine collection. A tightly curated menu of tantalizing appetizers and entrees can be found to please every craving. The butterscotch pudding is a must-try and has become the superstar on the dessert circuit, as well as an excellent finish to your evening.
1426 Bagley Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216
www.saintceces.comComfortable and inviting, this spot is begging for a hot elixir to take the chill out of the cold air outside. The stained-glass fixtures emit a warm amber glow, dark wood panelling creates a slightly rustic yet refined vibe and the fireplace completes the cozy atmosphere. Lounge in front of the crackling fire with a warm cocktail; from there, it isn’t a far stretch to imagine yourself at an alpine lodge. Although not on the menu, don’t be shy in voicing a request for a hot toddy, St. Cece’s has got your back. The bartenders will create a soul-warming drink made to order.Related: Best Piano Bars in Detroit