Toddy Troubles: Orchard

The toddy, a tasty old-fashioned American warmer that has increasingly fallen out of favor.

In its most basic form a toddy is a hot drink made with water, sugar, and brown liquor. Some consider citrus a crucial component, and depending on the type of toddy that’s hard to argue.

Today we concern ourselves with the Apple Toddy. Also something I am fond of, the Pear Toddy.

First of all I commonly see one mistake in the approach. Many people use heated cider and juice attempting to obtain Apple Toddy nirvana, but sadly this is not the way. If you boil the apple it won’t taste very good, but if it’s not boiling hot it won’t make a good toddy. Sometimes the best solutions are the old ways, to the oven!

Baking. Yes it’s the hardest part, that’s why you won’t find these in bars. However there’s something about the smell off apples baking that is so comforting in fall and winter. It’s also the only way to coax out the unique flavors of the orchard fruits. Play around with different apples, you need one that bakes up super soft and mushy, but stays flavorful. It’s good to wrap your apples ,always peeled and cored, in wet parchment paper to keep them mushy. Apples always bake up faster than Pears in my experience. Also when it comes to muddling the apples I always tend to retain little pieces of apple in the drink. It doesn’t look so pretty but the warm, boozy, spiced, apples are fun to munch on and tasty to.

I also sweeten with syrup. Like in tea it is really the best way to impart sweetness and flavor. I always use a 2:1 simple syrup simmered for about 10 minutes, with spices like allspice and cinnamon. This is not the old way of course, but for me it’s the best way.

Finally a little fresh nutmeg on top, grated as a garnish it can’t be beat. That is true old world style.

Always make sure you use a quality spirit, heat shows the flaws in a cheap bottle. It’s equally important to warm your mug with a rinse of boiling water. Nothing kills a hot drink like a cold mug.

Lets get on to the recipe that was inspired by master drink historian David Wondrich made my own with a little Rated R Sweetener.


Apple Toddy
Half a Baked Apple
1 oz Toddy Spice Syrup
2 oz Boiling Water
2 oz Bourbon

Garnish: Grated Nutmeg

In a thick preheated mug add spice syrup and soft baked apples. Muddle well and add 1 oz of boiling water, then Stir. Add bourbon and another 1 oz of boiling water, stir again. Serve with a grate of nutmeg if available.

Baked Apples

Peel and core the apples and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until completely softened. During cooking wrap apples with wet parchment paper to increase softness. If your baking pears make sure to leave them in longer to achieve the same effect.

Spice Syrup
2 cups Sugar
1 ½ cups Water
Tablespoon Cinnamon
Tablespoon Allspice

In a saucepan heat water, then add sugar stirring occasionally for a minute to dissolve followed by the spices. Stir often to dissolve all sugar and spice. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Allow to reducing for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and bottle after allowing to cool. The syrup lasts about 10 days.


Well I hope you try an apple toddy this holiday season. It’s a little work, but the results are a warm treat that truly speaks the cool weather and our history. this drink warmed peasant and president alike, I guarantee it will soothe you to. Hey, if you can’t flex your culinary muscles over the holidays when can you? Secretly I usually bake a bunch of apples at a time. Then toss them with a bit of lemon juice and store them in the fridge for up to a day or three. This keeps me a ready supply for when I come home on a cold night. Naturally they are always best baked fresh.

Until next time stay warm, and you get hammered America!



About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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