portrait of a cocktail // quince hot toddy

Is there anything more perfect than a Hot Toddy to sip on a chilly night? I certainly can’t think of anything! Boozy, warm, sweet, and did I mention boozy? Hot Toddy’s have been enjoyed for years and years- I remember my grandmother making these when I was younger. They are like a big, warm hug you can drink!

The best thing about Toddies? They are perfect to drink when you are sick. The golden-hued cocktail can sooth the worst ailments and they have a way of chasing even the most terrible of winter blues away!

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I recently went to the farmer’s market and bought a bunch of quince from a stand and then realized I had no idea what to do with them when I got home! I have had quince paste on many a cheese board, but as far as preparing them, not so much.  I knew I wanted to turn them into a dessert and a cocktail, but I quickly found out they are not not the easiest to work with from the start.

This delicious fruit is at first glance and taste, well, a little gnarly. The bumpy, knobby, lime green fruit is woody and bitter tasting when raw, but as the saying goes, good things are worth waiting for and quince is no exception! Once you simmer them for a bit with some sugar and spices, they turn into sweet, tender edible gold!

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I decided to use the quince in a Hot Toddy. The spices used for cooking the fruit reminded me of those often used in the tasty hot beverage. I infused a high-proof bourbon with the quince (higher-proof spirits infuse better). I then used some of the spiced honey syrup from cooking to use as the sweetener for the drink. What started off as an experiment has turned into one of my favorite libations for the middle of winter!

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Once you have made the infused quince bourbon & syrup, it is super easy and quick to whip together. It’s built in the glass (all the ingredients are added into the glass directly), so no shakers or other equipment required, which means less mess. Add in some of the infused bourbon & spiced syrup to a glass, some whisky, a squeeze of lemon, cinnamon stick and then top with almost boiling hot water and you have yourself one comforting drink!

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Quince Hot Toddy

  • 1 1/2 oz quince-infused bourbon (I used Rare Breed)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 stare anise
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon quince syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  •  1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, few dashes ground allspice, 1/4 cup sugar, for garnish
  • lemon peel, garnish
  • star anise, garnish (optional)

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Directions:

Cook quince according to these directions, adding in 1 cinnamon stick, 1 orange peel and 6 stair anise to the pot. When cooked, remove the slices of quince. Strain the cooking syrup and add 2 cups of honey to make the quince syrup. Add one cup of the cooked quince to a jar with 1 cinnamon stick & 4 star anise. Pour two cups of high proof bourbon into the jar. Let infuse for 4 days, up to a week. Strain any solids and sanitize the jar. Place bourbon back into the jar—it can keep unrefrigerated for up to year (not that it will last that long!).

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Take a lemon slice and rub on the rim of a stemmed glass or mug. Mix ground cinnamon, allspice, and sugar on a plate then rim the glass with the mixture.  Take 1 1/2 oz of the quince-infused bourbon add add it to a glass along with quince syrup, lemon juice, and a cinnamon stick. Pour half a cup of very hot water into the glass. Stir with a spoon and enjoy!

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Happy imbibing!

Weaving by Meghan Shimek

Original recipe, styling, and photography by Craft + Cocktails for Jojotastic.