Friday, January 2, 2009

Why I Blog

Sorry to get you here under false pretenses, but I wanted to make sure it caught Expatmum's attention, as she was the one who started all this. No, not the "Why I Blog" discussion, the Hot Toddy comments, which many of you joined in on.

(But just to keep you from feeling totally cheated: I'm sticking to my story about the voices in my head causing me to blog, and that actually isn't too far from the truth.)

I cannot imagine the concept of a Hot Toddy is foreign to Americans. At this point, I have no way of proving this one way or the other, but I can tell you with certainty that it was a new concept to me. So after several of you kindly echoed Expatmum's opinion on Hot Toddys—namely, that I simply MUST try them—I decided to give them a go.

My original plan called for mixing them up on a lazy Saturday afternoon, but as the saying goes, "we make plans to attempt interesting alcoholic remedies and God laughs."

Generally, when I'm sick, I'll wake up feeling like ten miles of bad road but, after a shower and some coffee, start to feel as if I can, if not face, at least slink through the day. This morning, however, I woke up feeling pretty good, but by the time I arrived at the office I was wishing I had stayed in bed.

I did ask my colleagues about where I could get some hot toddies and they thought I said, "Hot Totties" (Confused? Check the Glossary.), which turned the conversation down a whole different path. After some initial confusion, it became apparent what I was after, though we agreed that either one might make me feel better and, at the very least, wouldn't do me any harm. (Barring my wife finding out, or course.)

So I left at noon, popped into the market on the way to the bus stop for a lemon and arrived at my flat with all the makings of a Hot Toddy and some good, all-American, home cooking for lunch (we have a KFC right down the road, just across from the Kebab shop).

It wasn't until I had assembled the ingredients that one small detail began to niggle at me. It's called a "Hot" Toddy. One has to assume it's supposed to be hot. So do I actually put a glass of whiskey in the microwave? Do I heat up a small pot of single malt on the stove? Even through my fever-addled brain the idea that extreme heat and volatile liquids don't always complement one another, especially if you don't have an asbestos suit handy, stopped me before I did something that might have involved the fire brigade.

Incredibly—and without the benefit of my wife, who generally steps in to save me from myself at times like this—I actually did something intelligent; I looked up hot toddy recipes on the web.

So, one tablespoon of honey, juice from half a lemon (the recipe called for a quarter but I couldn't be arsed to cut it again) a bit of boiling water and a generous tot of whiskey later, I was set. (Oddly, many of the recipes called for tea, so I just put in some boiling water and doubled the amount of whiskey; it worked a treat.) Then I bundled up, got a cigar, took everything out on the balcony and discovered several home truths:

One: Hot Toddies are, indeed, very tasty.

Two: They do not go well with cigars.

Three: Drinking them in the cold is not a good idea—this is a drink you want to sip while tucked up in bed, not huddling is sub-freezing weather.

It also became quickly apparent that they taste better while hot (it's in the name, remember?) so I drank it down before it became tepid, finished my cigar (hey, cold or no cold, these things don't grow on trees) and went inside to make another.

This time, I put on some sweats, got a good book and tucked myself, and my hot toddy, into bed (this, I suspect, would be where the Hot Totty might come in handy, but being a happily married man I opted to wait for my wife to come home so I could whine and wheeze and make her bring me tea).

That round went much better. I sipped the wonderfully fragrant and soothing beverage, read a few chapters and, strangely enough, soon fell blissfully asleep.

I was awakened some hours later by my wife. She had, it transpired, returned from work and, not realizing I was asleep in the other room, called to speak with me at the office. My boss answered the phone and told her I had gone home. She assured him I wasn't there, and then she came and found me, asleep in bed.

So now my boss thinks I pulled a sickie so I could nip off to the pub. But at least she brought me some tea.


  1. Hahaha! I loved the part about your wife phoning your work! I'd love to hear about how you're going to try to convince them that you were actually at home and in bed!
    My Grandfather swore by Hot Toddy's although I have never been a fan - much prefer a good hot cup of tea!

  2. Gosh, you found that quick! I'm not even finished posting yet!

  3. At least your boss didn't tell the wife you'd took the day off to find some hot tottie!

  4. I just don't know if I could handle whiskey and the sniffles at the same time!

  5. I don't know about not drinking them in freezing cold. About 30 years ago, I went to an ice skating party (in Connecticut, so Hot Toddies are indeed known on this side of the pond), and one lady had her thermos full of Hot Toddies to keep her toasty. Of course, she also had her hubby to keep her on her feet and pilot the Pontiac home!

  6. Pam: Yes, that might have caused the day to end on an entirely differnt note.

    Kat: I admit it was an act of desperation, but it worked out fine ;)

    Marjie: Thanks for confirming there are hot toddies in the US. And drinking them at an ice skating partys sounds nice--the thermos was the difference. I had it in a regular tea cup and it got cold very quickly.

  7. Anonymous10:41 AM

    I was introduced to hot toddies in the US, my mother-in-law swore by them, but come to think of it, I never noticed her drinking them when she had a cold, she just drank alot!!.... She had many British habits but only went to the UK once in her life. Must have been her relatives before her.

  8. If you ever get across the water to ireland again (as I'm sure you do from time to time) and are in the North - make your way to a little village near to the Giants Causeway called Bushmills. There you will find the distillery of the same name, and they will be happy to give you a tour around their fine buildings and explain how this wonderful drink is made. Afterwards, like the scottish distilleries, you will be invited into the tasting room, but unlike the scottish distilleries, you are not limited to "just a wee dram" The irish do it differently as I recall through the mists of my last visit - as long as you can remain standing (and no other party is waiting) they will keep pouring - including supplying you with a Black Bush toddy, but without lemon and other pollutants, just Whiskey (note the spelling of the Irish drink) and hot water.

    Go for it Mike, you owe the world a report on your journalistic finding there... :-)


  9. I had to suffer through hot toddies at a young age, as my parents (both born and raised in Scotland) swore by them. To this day, I cannot stomach whiskey... probably a good thing, given my penchant for other things alcoholic ;).

    I cracked up about your wife telling your boss you weren't home. No matter how you try, your boss will never believe you now.

  10. I think I make myself a Hot Toddy next time before I sit down read your blog, sniffle or not, so I can have double the fun! You are hilarious!

  11. Oh thank god it worked - I would probably have been the one to blame had you gone for the Hot Tottie dure next!!!

  12. Anonymous: I always suspected that of 'medicinal' type drinks.

    Steve: I'll add that destination to 'The List' although the Giant's Causeway was already on it so we may be able to hit both in one holiday.

    Diane: Yes, I can't wait for tomorrow morning when I get back to work.

    Fida: Thanks! And have a second one for me ;)

    Expatmum: Don't worry, if the experiment had gone horribly awry, I would have found something else to write about.

  13. Anonymous1:25 PM

    LOVE the reference to KFC!

  14. Steve: I'll add that destination to 'The List' although the Giant's Causeway was already on it so we may be able to hit both in one holiday.


    I have to admit that at one visit to the Bushmills distillery I got so rat ars*d I couldn't see straight hardly - yet went to the giants Causeway anyway, it's only a mile away. I climbed up it and promptly fell off!

    Didn't feel a thing :-) - although my work suit was unwearable for evermore.

    Ahhh happy days......

  15. you haven't lived until you've tasted a hot toddy. I grew up with them too.

  16. Susanna: KFC; good home cooking. They've come in handy many a time. But then so has the Chippie, the Indian Restaurant and the Chinese Takeaway.

  17. Steve: Thanks for the cautionary tale--I will take heed.

    ExpatKat: I am firmly in the Hot Toddy fold now and I intend to exploit them.

  18. We make a hot toddy with hot milk and whiskey, just to confuse you even further!!! I loved the "hot tottie" comment...LOL

    I have mentioned your blog on a post I am doing on Friday (9th) on my blog.

    Gill in Canada

  19. I love hot toddies- I really do. If you make them strong enough they work well. You still have the cold but you don't care...

  20. yep, what jo said. make 'em strong enough and hey, 'what cold?' feeling no pain.
    i love me some toddies.

  21. Gill: Whiskey and Milk? Not sure how that would go down. Maybe when I have my next cold I'll try that.

    And thanks for the plug!!

  22. Jo and Clippy: That works for me.

  23. Need one now!!!!

  24. Always a trend-setter - me.

  25. Mike - you do make me smile. You remind me of a guy I worked with once. Outrageously funny. He was talking about "arm candy" long before I heard the term used over here. He had spent a lot of time in the US. He'd probably classify your hot toddy/ "tongue candy"!

  26. Hadriana: I'm not sure if I want to stray into the territory ;)

  27. Mike...I don't blame you. A blush hit me later just thinking about it but it was almost as if D was saying it. He WAS outrageous so I say it/write it on his behalf. ( He's not around now, bless him, so I think we can forgive him a tad. Gosh! have started me off on something now!!! I may blog about him some time...he's often in my thoughts :) )

  28. That really made me laugh, looking forward to reading you! I went to the states a few years ago and nobody understood 'flogging a dead horse', do you? And do you have gobbledegook? MH

  29. Millennium Housewife: Welcome! And of course I know what 'flogging a dead horse' and gobbledegook are; both can be used to describe my blog ;)