We’ve already established it’s winter, but holy balls it is cold this week. And it seems like everyone is coming down with the lurgy…probably the same lurgy that I had last month, because the only thing I’m likely to catch onto before everyone else is germs. Anyway, winter, colds and a crap load of alcohol arriving ahead of the BBC Good Food Show this weekend meant one thing; it was time to create a Hot Toddy.
Now the nice folks at Crabbie’s sent me a crate of their Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer, which launched recently and contains half the ginger of Crabbie’s Original. Personally I’m a fan of ginger, but after nearly choking on a particularly spicy cup of ginger tea (effortlessly uncool, me) I totally get that not everyone is a fan of it. Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer is still alcoholic but reduced, about 2.8% abv compared to 4% abv on the original; a 330ml bottle is 0.9 of a unit. It’s this lightness that gives it a bit of a better chance of being a food pairing match, but also makes it a pretty good base for a cocktail.
Having been introduced to the idea of ‘gin & ginger’ by a red-haired bartender friend a few years ago, it’s quickly become one of my alternatives to a GnT, particularly in winter. There’s nothing particularly spectacular or complicated to it, it’s merely that the tonic has been replaced with a ginger ale/beer but it gives it a bit more spice and warmth, which is always welcome when the nights are dark and the weather outside frightful.
But just telling you about a spirit and a mixer feels like a bit of a cop out, so I thought I’d try a Hot Toddy, only rather than the heat coming from the boiling water, I wondered what would happen if the heat came from the ginger and warm Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer at that? Turns out it’s actually really nice. I used The Pogues Irish Whiskey, which also sent to me. It’s a blended Irish whiskey, made by one of Ireland’s last independent distilleries, West Cork Distillers, aged for for three years and a day – which makes it fairly young. To the whisky, add the usual Hot Toddy ingredients of lemon and honey, but top up with Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer.
- 50ml whisky (I used the The Pogues Irish whiskey)
- 10ml lemon juice
- 1tsp honey
- Top up with Crabbies Light Ginger Beer (about half a 330ml bottle)
- Heat the Crabbies Light Ginger Beer in a saucepan until it's warm
- Put the whiskey, lemon and honey in a glass and stir well
- Add the Crabbies Light Ginger Beer slowly to the glass, stir well and serve.
- Whack everything in a glass, give it a good stir and bung in the microwave for about 50secs or until it's sufficiently warm enough for you.
If you’re heading down to the BBC Good Food Show Winter this weekend, Crabbie’s will be at the on stall F170 and will be handing out recipe cards on how to use their Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer in cocktails. I’m imagining if you ask nicely enough they might also have samples, but don’t quote me on that.
Disclosure: The PR team who look after Crabbies and The Pogues Irish Whiskey ent me some products to sample. The lemon, honey and near death by ginger tea story are all mine.