The Toddy is presumably an American drink that predates the cocktail by several decades, with the earliest known references being in 1750 (July 1750 edition of The Boston post-boy - need to find reference). A Toddy is almost always a hot drink, if made cold, it would be hard to distinguish it from a Sling (English), and if it is made with a lemon twist, it would be difficult to differentiate it from a Skin (Irish).
Traditional recipes consist of a spirit, mixed with hot water and a sweetener of some sort. Sometimes it is garnished with a lemon twist or even a lemon wedge, and a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon. The fact that it is often referred to as a "Hot Toddy" could be an indication which supports the notion that it could be served either hot or cold.
- 2 ounces Spirit (although over time Whiskey has become standard)
- 3/4 ounce Sweetener (Honey, Simple Syrup, or sugar)
- 2 ounces water (normally boiling hot)
Optional: garnish with a lemon twist, or thin wheel of lemon.
If you try to get a clear definition of the Toddy by using the Jerry Thomas 1862 Bartenders Guide, you will find it more than a little confusing. He lumps the Toddy and Sling together, appearing to indicate that both can be hot or cold, with the only difference being a Sling is server with a grating of nutmeg.
In this section he lists recipes for:
- Apple Toddy: Sugar, cider brandy, 1/2 baked apple, boiling water, garnished with grated nutmeg.
- Brandy Toddy: Sugar, brandy, water, ice. And indicates that a "Hot Brandy Toddy" would omit the ice and use boiling water.
- Whiskey Toddy: Sugar, whiskey, water, ice.
- Gin Toddy: Sugar, gin, water, ice.
- Brandy Sling: "...same ingredients as brandy toddy, except you grate a little nutmeg on top."
- Hot Whiskey Sling: Whiskey, boiling water, garnished with grated nutmeg.
- Gin Sling: "...same ingredients as gin toddy, except you grate a little nutmeg on top."
From this it sounds like all that differentiates a Toddy from a Sling is the addition of grated nutmeg, except that the Apple Toddy includes nutmeg. It is also strange that the Hot Whiskey Sling doesn't include sugar.
Toddy and Arack Liquors made of the Coco-Tree.
Beſide the Liquor or Water in the Fruit, there is alſo a ſort of wine drawn from the Tree called Toddy, which looks like Whey. It is ſweet and very pleaſant, but it is to be drunk within 24 hours after it is drawn, for afterwards it grows ſowre. Thoſe that have a great many Trees, draw a Spirit from the ſowre Wine, called Arack. Arack is diſtill’d alſo from Rice, and other things in the Eaſt Indies; but none is ſo much eſteemed for making Punch as this ſort, made of Toddy, or the ſap of the Coco-nut Tree, for it makes moſt delicate Punch; but it muſt have a daſh of Brandy to hearten it, becauſe this Arack is not ſtrong enough to make good Punch of it ſelf. This ſort of Liquor is chiefly uſed about Goa; and therefore it has the Name of Goa Arack. The way of drawing the Toddy from the Tree, is by cutting the top of a Branch that would bear Nuts; but before it has any Fruit; and from thence the Liquor which was to feed its Fruit, diſtils into the hole of a Callabaſh that is hung upon it.
- Hot Toddy (Wikipedia)
- The Official Cocktail of Winter: The Hot Toddy (TheDailyBeast.com)
- How Well Do You Actually Know the Toddy? (Punch.com)
- The Real Hot Toddy (Liquor.com)