It is cold enough out there today for this child of more temperate climes. They are calling for a proper ice and snow storm tonight or tomorrow or the next day or some other indeterminate time in the future. The important thing to remember is that during the challenging times to come, no matter what, you must not be caught without ample supplies of milk and bread. To avoid this fate we ventured out today for supplies. It was 26° with freezing fog and since we were already cold, we decided to hike a couple of miles in a local park and climb the highest hill we could find. Needless to say, we need something to warm us up this evening, so, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Chartreuse Toddy.
First off, I am not generally a fan of toddies. The combination of alcohol and hot water always seems to leave me wanting. I usually just end up wishing I had a cup of tea or coffee alongside my cocktail. That same heat that is so appetizing on a day like today, all too often seems to find the harsh edge of the alcohol and push it to the forefront, while also watering down the flavor. Hot cocktails almost always feel “thin” to me, if that makes sense. A thinning of the flavor, discarding it’s depth and bringing it’s most shallow components to the surface. I am hoping that this “more French” adaptation from the great folks at Punch will be different, but we shall see.
Put the kettle on and get that fresh water heating up. Don’t reuse the kettle water, you want all that oxygen in there. We are building this one in the glass, so grab something tempered and go ahead and heat it up with hot water from the tap. With your glass prepared and the kettle going, pop in 1 1/2 ounces of brandy or cognac, I opted for Dunill Brandy XO with it’s wonderfully over the top presentation. To that add 3/4 of an ounce of Green Chartreuse, 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 an ounce of honey simple syrup. Grab your barspoon and give it a good stir to Annie Lennox’s “Cold“. When well mixed, top with 4-6 ounces of hot water, preferably not quite boiling. Garnish with a floated star anise and serve.
This is surprisingly good. It seems to escape the pitfalls of most warm drinks. The heat opens the herbal notes of the chartreuse wonderfully and the brandy surges forward, in a good way. Obviously, you can dial the flavor up or down depending on how much water you add. I went with a light hand wanting to avoid that watered down thinness and succeeded. Laura would’ve preferred a little more water in it as the brandy was a bit bitey. Still, she did not hesitate to finish hers, cuddled up on the sofa under her blankie.
It was a good day to be out, despite the fog freezing on every surface that would hold it, including my beard. We had a nice walk in the woods and met a wonderful Staffordhsire Terrier named Cody or maybe it was Fagin, who gave us lots of kisses before picking my pocket to steal my glove. We laughed as he led us in circles, always dropping it just out of reach, before running off again. He eventually tired of this game and went off to mark some territory and we went on our very way humming “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two“. By the way, does anyone have any tips for getting doggo slobber out of rabbit fur? Oh well, at least he didn’t try to run off with my frosty beard. A nice day out with the family, nothing wrong with that. Especially, since we are staring at the prospect of a few days stuck inside, with plenty of milk and bread. Luckily, I also made a quick stop at the liquor store to resupply some of our dwindling staples, so we will have proper cocktails and French Brandy to go with our steady diet of French Toast. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.