Monday, January 31, 2011

A Good Hot Drink

As a rule, I like hot cocktails more in theory than in practice. I'll order a hot buttered rum or make a Blue Blazer for myself, and contentedly sip it. But my enjoyment lies mainly in the novelty, and in thinking of the drink's pedigree and antecedents, it's place in the cultural landscape, the history behind the warming intoxicant. I'll think thoughts of Jerry Thomas, ski lodges, colonial America and Merrie Olde England. But, when it comes down to it, I like a chilled cocktail better then a hot one, even when the temperature outside dips below zero. (This may just be my quirk; I drink iced coffee in summer and winter both.)

The Old Tom Gin Hot Toddy currently being serves at Red Hook's Fort Defiance, however, arrives as an exception. I'd order this elixir anytime. Spicy, smooth, robust and flavorful, with a bite of citrus—but not cloying or weirdly unbalanced like so many hot drinks—it went down like silk on a recent mildly chilly afternoon. And paired beautifully with a roast beef sandwich. The Whiskey Hot Toddy (made with Power's) that followed was only marginally less satisfying. Less than $10 bucks, folks.

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