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FOOD BOOZE REBELLION: The hot toddy edition

It’s the holidays, it’s cold, and you need something warm.

I screamed my voice box out of my throat on Saturday night at karaoke. I screamed for two and a half minutes The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” at a dive bar in downtown Charleston, and only now, on Thursday, does it not require effort to emit sound from my lungs and throat.

“Twist and Shout” was the last song recorded at the end of a very long recording day for those young Beatles, who smoked a lot of cigarettes and drank a lot of beer. They were from Liverpool, after all. Anyway, Lennon had to record “Twist and Shout” at the end of something like a 14-hour long recording session and his voice was fully shot. Just nothing left on the vocal cords that won’t work or vibrate anymore. It’s over.

Lennon thus proceeded to scream “Twist and Shout” into his microphone in the studio, because he couldn’t harmonize or intone anymore. He required the other three members of the band to help him harmonize out the “Aaaaahhhhhhh” bar that punctuates the song midway and at the end. He just couldn’t physically do it, because his voice was shot.

I screamed out that song for two and a half minutes on Saturday night and my voice hasn’t sounded right all week. It’s taken real effort to issue words through my mouth, and I teach for three hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I screamed the hell out of that song to a bar full of drunks and they mauled me after it was done. The height of my poetic powers.

The hot toddy cured my throat, though, and finally I can talk like a normal person without having to flex my diaphragm to force words out of my face. Here’s my favorite bartender Sarah’s personal recipe for a hot toddy:

Hot water
Orange Pekoe (more on that later)
Cloves, only a few
Quarter oz. Benedictine
Honey (to taste, not too much)
About two oz. Bulleit Rye bourbon, or however much you want

Steep loose-leaf tea and whole cloves in hot water for 3-4 minutes, strain out solids, add liquor, honey to taste, and citrus juice (lime is good), to tea and stir.

Somebody kill me because this drink is perfect. We’ve had the worst shit-ass weather in Charleston this week. The air is so cold and humid that it’s turned into water. It’s not rain, per se, but just wet air. You walk into your local dive and you need something that’s going to put the fire back into your bones.

This here hot toddy I topped with a lemon slice, just to fire it down my gullet a bit harsher. I can’t currently speak this week, currently. I need something to dislodge vocal cords that have been somehow congealed to the inside of my throat after screaming The Beatles at a room full of drunks.

Here, then, is your baseline recipe for a hot(ty) toddy as we head into the holiday season. Tweet the hell out of us as you develop more and more elaborate concoctions. We’re gonna go have another, if you’ll excuse us.