*Edit: I published this and realized as I read through it that I made a very different recipe to shoot the photos than I published – and I wanted to publish this recipe. Updated with the correct recipe shot! This is what happens when you do a dozen different takes in your test kitchen and then make it again to shoot later. I still feel like it’s worth doing that to get the recipe right, though!
I used to get the winter blues in a big way.
When I first moved from California to New York for college and the winter hit, there was a flash of excitement as the first snow fell, as the fireplaces were lit, and as the holidays approached. But pretty quickly, everything just got dark and gray.
Being the solar-powered California girl I was, I just plain got sad.
Now, about twenty or so years later, I’ve picked up a lot of things to do that aren’t just coping strategies, but actually make me embrace and enjoy this time of year.
Like bundling up and getting outside and enjoying both the sunlight and the starlight. My Scandinavian relatives have a saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” And I find you can bundle up against just about everything.
Like lighting candles. And the fireplace. And enjoying the darkness that makes those little twinkling lights so warm and cheerful, and the cold that makes cozying up by the fire with a warm blanket and a book so lovely.
Like putting the Christmas tree lights on a timer so that when I go downstairs for that first cup of coffee, it’s not dark down there, but the tree is sparkling and bright and is happy to wake up with me.
Like enjoying the hot and spicy treats that you couldn’t enjoy any other time of year, especially not during the heat.
Like today’s recipe – the Blackberry Hot Toddy.
I don’t know if a Hot Toddy helps with a cold or not as it’s rumored, but it is definitely a nice treat to warm you up as you sit by the fire with that book.
The basic Hot Toddy is whiskey, honey, lemon, and tea or hot water. This version adds a little bit of brown sugar and a vanilla bean to sweeten it up and a little bit of blackberry for an extra pop of flavor. I hope you enjoy!
Blackberry Hot Toddies
Makes 1 drink.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup mild brewed tea
- 3 oz blackberries
- 1 lemon wedge
- 1 vanilla bean
How to Make It:
1. Pour the brown sugar into a small shallow dish. Run the lemon wedge along the rim of a mug or cocktail tumbler and dip it into the brown sugar.
2. Mash the blackberries in a colander or strainer over a bowl to capture the juice.
3. Add the whiskey, vanilla, juice from the lemon wedge, and tea to the blackberry juice. Stir in the leftover brown sugar until it dissolves. Pour the mixture into the mug or cocktail tumbler.
4. Garnish with the vanilla bean or a cinnamon stick and a blackberry or two. Serve and enjoy!
If you’re not all about your bourbon, you can leave it out completely and enjoy a very nice lemon blackberry tea!