Can You Make a Hot Toddy Without Whiskey?

The Hot Toddy: warm, delicious, and believed by many to cure everything from a minor cough to the full-blown flu.

Hot Toddy with Lemon.jpg

Can I make a Hot Toddy With Rum or Brandy?

Of course you can!

While whiskey is traditionally the spirit of choice, the Hot Toddy is a decidedly forgiving beverage, and you can easily swap out the spirit for what you have on hand.  Preferably that substitute is something dark, like bourbon, rye, brandy, cognac, or rum, but feel free to experiment.  Try warming up a light rum or gin, and see how the hot water opens up the flavors and soothes your winter soul.  There aren't really a lot of rules when it comes to Hot Toddies.

Where did the Hot Toddy Originate?

The word "toddy" can be traced back to India in the early 1600's, from the Hindi word tāḍi, and first referenced a drink made from the fermented sap of palm trees.

So, there you go - nothing like rotten palm sap to pave the way for substitutions! The earliest meaning of the word was more general than that, and a toddy was simply any drink made of alcohol, hot water, sugar and spices.

Many claim the Hot Toddy originates with Robert Bentley Todd, an influential Irish physician who readily incorporated innovative new tools into his practice (think: the microscope). He contributed prolifically to medical publications, lectured frequently, and was the first to lay out a specific process for treating severe cases of fever. 

Can a Hot Toddy cure a cold?

Dr. Robert Bentley Todd's diagnoses were often accompanied with a prescription for a drink with "brandy, canella (white cinnamon), sugar syrup and water," so it's no surprise that we still associate the Hot Toddy with medicinal use. Especially during these cold winter months when the flu is at it's worst, and a hot drink on a cold night is just the thing you'd like to prescribe to yourself.

So even though Dr. Todd prescribed brandy, we seem to use Scotch these days (and anyway, he was Irish - so why not add Irish Whiskey to the list?) But consider his practice of prescribing a brandy-based drink as permission to substitute the Scotch.

Dr. Robert Bentley Todd, often credited with the origin of the Hot Toddy, which he prescribed frequently to patients.

Dr. Robert Bentley Todd, often credited with the origin of the Hot Toddy, which he prescribed frequently to patients.

How to Make a Hot Toddy

Throw it all together and drink it.

Ok, we can be a bit more artful than that. Here's a generally accepted practice:

  1. Add [sugar/honey/sweet], any other spices or citrus juice, and boiling water to a pre-warmed mug. Stir to dissolve.
  2. If using tea, steep the tea in the hot water for the recommended time (varies by tea type - read those labels!)
  3. Add the [scotch/bourbon/rye/rum/brandy/cognac] to the mug, stir to combine
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist/wheel and/or cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves, or star anise if you're feeling real fancy.

Why Pre-Warm the mug? If you'll be using a room-temperature spirit, you'll want the mug and water to be fairly hot. If you want to warm the alcohol, you certainly can, but keep it in the pot just until warm.  If you heat alcohol for too long at high heat, it can begin to lose it's alcohol content. Also, warm mugs are nice. 

Hot Water in Copper Napier Jigger.jpg

What's a Good Hot Toddy Recipe?

The essential hot toddy recipe is simple: 1-2 oz of spirit (typically whiskey, rum, brandy, or cognac), 2-4 oz of hot water, 1-2 tsp of sweet (sugar or honey), a dip of a tea bag and a splash of lemon. 

It's hard to list just once recipe for a Hot Toddy - since there are so many variations (many regional ones as well), and different folks have different styles. Here's a little guide to help you choose:

Simple Hot Toddy Recipe (no Honey or Lemon)

  • 2 oz Scotch Whiskey (or Rum/Bourbon/Rye/Brandy/Cognac)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • lemon wheel (optional)
  • cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves (optional)

Hot Toddy Recipe for a Cold 

If you're feeling a bit under the weather and want the slightly-naughty version of a drink your Mama might make you, here's a lighter version disguising itself as a nighty-night tea:

  • 1 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz honey (1 TB)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice (1 TB)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Dr. Pat's Hot Toddy Recipe with Tea

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tea bag (dark black tea preferred)
  • 1/2 oz honey (1 TB)
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice (1.5 tsp)
  • Lemon wheel garnish


Okay, so our family doctor suggested this instead of prescription cough syrup for relieving the cold symptoms of the ADULTS in our family... He says the whisky helps you sleep while the honey and lemon soothe your throat. I’m pretty sure it works, but in the end we really don’t care because we love this warm drink when we aren’t feeling well. Even sometimes when we are feeling well!
— Sue, a Hot Toddy FAN!

Stop reading this already, and put the kettle on the stove!

Hot Toddies for Two.jpg

Resurrecting the Stepped Napier Jigger

We haven't been idle while our recently released Hammered Mixing Glass was manufactured and in transit. And now that one project has wrapped up, another is about to begin!  We are very excited to introduce our next cocktail tool, the stepped Napier Jigger.

Copper Stepped Napier Jigger by Standard Spoon

This gorgeous cocktail measure was originally produced by the Napier company in the 1930's. It features four simple, stepped measurements in 1/2 ounce increments, which are easy to discern and create a remarkable aesthetic. We also think the handle is nice!

When we set out to design a measuring cup, we explored many designs, but couldn't resist the way this vintage piece was nearly exactly what we wanted.

It took us months to find and purchase just three of the vintage pieces to use and test. They are really hard to find, and really expensive. These are the ones we got:

vintage Napier stepped jiggers

Two of the three were in pretty rough shape, but they still cost us a pretty penny. I think the cheapest one we got was $65.00 on eBay. You can get a pristine specimen for $275 here.

But from a usability standpoint, once we got them, we fell in love even more. We decided that this was it. We are so excited to make the Napier stepped Jigger available (and affordable) for you to own, use, and fall in love with yourself!  

Design Modifications

We have made a few modifications to the original stepped Napier Jigger. Partly this is to increase functionality, and partly to prevent shady folks from passing our tools off as originals to unsuspecting collectors:  

  • Addition of commonly-used ¼ oz and ¾ oz internal measurement lines. The original Napier Jigger does not have these markings.
  • Addition of Standard Spoon logo on underside. The original Napier Jigger has “Napier” underneath the handle. Ours will not, but will have our logo on the bottom of the jigger.
Copper Napier Jigger and Hammered Mixing Glass by Standard Spoon
The Stepped Napier Jigger in Copper and Silver. Standard Spoon will also produce a Gold-Plated version, not pictured.

The Stepped Napier Jigger in Copper and Silver. Standard Spoon will also produce a Gold-Plated version, not pictured.

Finish Options for the Napier Stepped Jigger

  • Silver-Plated Napier Jigger - We are honoring the original design with a silver-plated version, just like they were made in the '30's. We are also adding:
  • Solid Copper Napier Jigger - the copper jigger will be SOLID copper, not plated. Copper plating has a tendency to rub off a little too easily, so when we found out we could make it completely copper, we went for it.  
  • Gold-Plated Napier Jigger - we’re not making a solid gold jigger (how much would THAT thing cost?!), but gold plating processes are pretty well developed. 

For the Minimalist: The Industry's Napier Jigger

We've also thought a lot about functionality from the perspective of a hardworking bartender. We always consider industry use when designing our tools, and from the very beginning knew we wanted to create a modified version specifically for our friends behind the bar. 

We'll be stripping down the Napier Jigger for efficient use and easy care by eliminating the handle, and making it in easily maintainable stainless steel.  When our Kickstarter launches this month, there will be an Industry 2-pack reward option: A pair of stackable Napier measuring cups that save space on the bar top and require no-fuss cleanup. 

Kickstarter Launch: September 11, 2017

Head on over to our Facebook Page to RSVP for our Launch Event, get a reminder on launch day, and read all the details of our 24 Hour Flash sale (ends September 12th at 7PM)

24 Hour Flash Sale

During the first 24 hours of the campaign, you can get any of the jiggers for just $24, which is up to 30% off the final retail price. There's no limit to how many $24 Jiggers you pre-order, as long as you do so during the first 24 hours!

Why We Love To Sit At The BAR

A meandering musing on our love for the hospitality industry...

There are two kinds of people who dine out.  Those that want a nice quite booth in the dining room, and those that gravitate toward the noise, activity, (sometimes the chaos) of the bar.

When we walk into a restaurant, our first choice for seating - ALWAYS - is at the bar.  

Give me a bar stool in front of the well any day and I'll be happy, just don't stick me at a bistro table outside. Quiet-booth-diners have a hard time understanding this, but it's because we love the hospitality industry. Drink and food service don't serve only as the vehicle for enjoyment of my meal and the company I'm with. It's partly the reason I'm there. 

There's a temporary community that exists at the bar and changes by the minute, and the host of this gregarious group of people is the man or woman behind the bar.  They bring it all together, and if they're good at their job, they hold it all together and cultivate it into something more - a memorable evening. 

One of my favorite memories of this experience was one such evening this past November. We met with a few friends and took the train up from San Diego to Campfire, a new restaurant in Carlsbad. It's the kind of place that's sure to bring back nostalgic memories of your best camping trips; a must-visit for any fans of Moonrise Kingdom.

We ended up sitting at the bar with Bruce making cocktails for for four of us, and discovered a new gem of a guy. He's a great conversationalist and joined us in our banter, was attentive and answered our questions, and never let a glass sit empty for too long. He also made great drinks.  

You see, my estimation of a great bartender doesn't start with how talented they are at crafting incredible cocktails.  Certainly you've got to be schooled in the basics of drink-making.  But a great bartender is a hospitable bartender first, and then they also make things you enjoy drinking. 

As two people who also design bar tools, keeping industry use in mind is a big priority for us. If our tools can hold up in a high-volume, commercial bar and restaurant environment, that means we made them right.  Whenever we design or prototype a new tool, you'll find us taking it around to our friends behind the bar to give us honest feedback.  We put our Hammered Mixing Glass into service at some of the busiest bars in San Diego before we even brought it to Kickstarter, and it held up like a champ.  That's how we knew we had a winner.

To all you women and men showing up for shift after shift with the purpose of making our lives better, we salute you.

Barware, Social Forestry, and the Ebony Muddler Story

We've made an Ebony Muddler.  

It's perhaps the densest and most luxurious tool that's ever been used to muddle mint. 

Ebony is so rare and expensive, that would be reason enough for some people to buy a luxury bar tool like this Muddler.  And look at it - it's incredible!  

Standard Spoon Ebony Muddler (5 of 13).jpg

Just wait until you hold it in your hands...

But while we have a healthy appreciation for beautiful and extraordinary things, we didn't just wake up one day and say, "what rare and protected wood species can we turn into a stick to make drinks with?" In fact, we didn't even ask ourselves that question at all. We already made a beautiful hardwood muddler from sustainably harvested Canadian Maple.

So how did we end up with this incredible tool?  The story might surprise you....

Ok, so if you just watched that video, and if you care about trees, the forest, and our role as stewards of this earth, you might be a little more excited about this tool.

We have a chance to support a business that is actually making REAL CHANGE in sustainable forestry initiatives, is paying a fair and living wage to workers, and is making sure that nothing goes to waste.

We're currently funding a Kickstarter Project to make a Mixing Glass and this Ebony Muddler, using ebony that can't be used in guitar making, but deserve to have a second life.

To continue being a part of this (and to bring you new beautiful bar tools made from Ebony), we need your support.  Tell us you love this by becoming a backer on our Kickstarter Project.

This is a Muddler you can really get behind. This is a story that's worth it.


Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael






Ebony wood is so dense, that it can be polished to a high-shine finish. That's what we did. 



Hospitality Industry Update: Mixing Glass Industry-Only Case Price

This is addressed to those of you that are bartenders, restaurant owners, or otherwise involved in the beverage hospitality industry. And it's about our new Mixing Glass, which we've designed specifically with you in mind. 

One of the questions we ask ourselves when throwing product ideas around is "what problem does this solve behind the bar?"

Now, not all of our tools are going to solve your specific problems - because we all have different issues we deal with. And some of our tools are designed with home bartenders in mind. We try not to be too snobby about cocktails.  Because really, there's nothing wrong with helping people make better cocktails at home, is there?

But whether we're thinking about helping the cocktail movement as a whole - in home or in the bar - we are always designing with the industry in mind. That's you guys.  You mean so much to us!  

Brandy Curry at The Patio on Goldfinch in San Diego - He used the Mixing Glass for service one weekend. He said he loved that the walls were thin - it made drinks chill faster, and it feels great when stirring and handling - the perfect size for bar use.

Brandy Curry at The Patio on Goldfinch in San Diego - He used the Mixing Glass for service one weekend. He said he loved that the walls were thin - it made drinks chill faster, and it feels great when stirring and handling - the perfect size for bar use.

That's why we designed the Aero Cocktail Spoon. You were sick of cheap bar spoons falling apart during service. Those who prefer a straight-handled spoon had no other option. So we made a bar spoon that will last you the rest of your life. 

The Mixing Glass is designed specifically with you in mind. Beautiful bars with impeccable design are using pint glasses or pyrex beakers for stirred cocktails. Some of you don't have a problem with that - that's fine.  But we've heard that a lot of you do. 

Bar Managers tell us it's because they just can't afford to keep Mixing Glasses around. Bartenders say it just takes forever to chill down a drink in a thick-walled Yarai. 

Would you rather use a beautiful mixing vessel? Most of you who like good tools and have an eye for beauty say yes. Presentation is important. The experience for the customer is important. It's nice to see that little "WOW" in their eyes. But is it worth the high purchase cost (not to mention replacement cost) of a quality Mixing Glass?  More importantly, is it worth compromising efficiency and service?  No.

So THAT's where we are.  

A gorgeous Mixing Glass for incredible guest presentation.

A thin-walled Mixing Glass for fast and efficient chilling.

A weighted bottom so it won't slide around during service.

A price point that won't break the bank.

Considering the unique vintage hammered glass design alone, a nice departure from the now-ubiquitous yarai cut glass, this is a no-brainer purchase for those of you looking for a standout piece. On top of that, we've been told it looks like a $50 - $60 Mixing Glass, and we've set the price point at an easily accessible $35. 

But the thing we're really excited about on the service side of things is the availability of an industry-only case price. Because bars can't get access to wholesale pricing, but it's just too expensive to buy 4 or 6 or 8 Mixing Glasses at retail. 

When these come out in the Spring, we'll be putting Mixing Glasses in bars for as little as $25 apiece.  

We'd LOVE to be able to offer it for less, but we also have to make smart business decisions on our end.  In the future, if you show us as a whole that this is a good thing, and that you want more of this, we can place larger orders and get that price down even more.

And we always, ALWAYS love your feedback.  Do talk among yourselves, but please do let us know what you think, what you want, what you love and what you don't.  We're not perfect, we can't meet everyone's needs, but we'll do the best damn job we can.

Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael

You can pre-order this Mixing Glass via Kickstarter for $35 today: Mixing Glass Kickstarter



Kickstarter Update: More Ebony Muddlers Please!

Update #1 Posted via Kickstarter on 11/17/16

Hi Backers!

First off, thank you so much to our first backers and the support you've pledged to our campaign the first day!  Early backers mean so much to us, and you've enabled us to reach nearly 60% of our funding in the first 24 hours.

Here's a little video update from us saying thanks, and chatting a little about Ebony. 

The basic thing to know is that we are making MORE Ebony Muddlers available. We've got details below the video on how this works.

(video note: it sounds like we said there is NO WAY you'll get any of the additional Ebony Muddlers by Christmas.  What we mean is, we cannot 100% guarantee any additional muddlers will ship by Christmas. We're going to do our best ;) Read on for more)

One of the reasons we love working with Kickstarter is that we are able to gather immediate information from our backers about what they want. In the last day, you've told us that you want Ebony Muddlers.  

Many of you have contacted us wanting to add extra Ebony Muddlers to your pledge, and we've nearly sold out of all the muddlers we listed in the limited ebony reward tiers.


More Ebony Muddlers are now Available!

We've added new reward tiers for you to pre-order additional Ebony Muddlers.  You can also get an extra one at your current reward level by adding $55 to your pledge.

We cannot 100% guarantee that these will be shipped out by Christmas, but it's very likely we'll have access to more ebony wood next week, and we'll do our best to make as many as we can before the end of the Kickstarter Project. 

Beyond the first 50 that are guaranteed for Christmas, we'll be fulfilling Ebony Muddlers in the order they are pledged for. That could be by Christmas, or it could be January. Once we run out of locally available ebony, the next batch will arrive from Cameroon in a few months, so we'd fulfill the rest of the muddlers late Spring. So if you want to add a +1 Muddler to your pledge, or if you want to upgrade to Ebony from Maple, you can do that now! Check out the FAQ at the bottom of the project page for more.


Rachel Eva & Shawn Michael

How to Fail at Launching a Kickstarter

When you decide to launch your Kickstarter via a Facebook Live Broadcast, and you forget to change the privacy settings, so no one knows you launched.... 


Ok, this is only a minor fail, and one that actually caused us to laugh our pants off when we found out.  Using the Live Broadcast was pretty fun, and we'll probably do it again during this Kickstarter!

Here it is if you missed it (yeah, that would be all of you).  We had some technical difficulties with the WIFI at the start (all part of the process, right?) so skip to 10 minutes in to see us hit the infamous "LAUNCH" button.

We're on day three of our project, so there's still plenty of time left to pre-order a Mixing Glass and Ebony Muddler.  And there are still Maple Muddlers that will ship by Christmas!  Here's the link: Kickstarter: Cocktail Mixing Glass and Wood Muddlers.


Rachel Eva

A Mixing Glass and two Muddlers Walk into a Bar...

If you've followed us on Instagram or Facebook, you've already gotten a sneak peak at some of the new tools we're releasing this month.  If you're not connected to us there, come on over and join the crowd!  We think we post some pretty pictures and have some fun banter on social media (because life shouldn't be so serious!).  Sorry to you twitterers out there -- we try, but it's not quite as fun for us visual creative types. 

On to the goods already!

Mid-November we'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring to life these beauties:

  • A Mixing Glass with an antique hammered glass finish ($35)
  • A streamlined, solid wood Maple Muddler with no stains or flaking varnishes ($15)
  • A specialty Ebony Muddler with handle, and a great story behind it ($55)

We've been working on a Mixing Glass design for most of this year, and are excited to finally have a production sample worth sharing.  We just received it from the factory the first week in November, and so far people that have used it have LOVED it!

We have been making a few Maple Muddlers this year and they have also been really well received.  Most of the ones we've made so far we tested with our current retailers, and since people have been buying them, we've decided to move them into the next stage of manufacturing with mass production, which will create greater efficiencies for us.

AND - we also have EBONY!

A few months ago, we were having some conversations about ebony wood with Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars.  He owns part of a company that has permission to harvest the last legal ebony on the planet in Cameroon. The ebony story we have to tell is pretty incredible, and we'll be adding a blog post about that soon. To make a long story short (for now), we've developed an ebony muddler using sustainably harvested ebony. The wood we're using can't otherwise be used in the music industry, which is the primary end consumer of this very valuable and limited wood resource.

Curious about the ebony story?  Check out this clip of Bob Taylor on the state of ebony to get your started, and look for our next blog post for more:


Holiday Delivery for Muddlers

The first 150 backers who order Maple Muddlers will receive them in time for Christmas!  Same with the Ebony Muddlers, although for now we can only guarantee 25 of those, so be sure to sign up to be notified of our launch to get first dibs.

Kickstarter Launch

We plan on launching the second week in November (trending for Wedneday, Nov 16th). We've got additional information about the Kickstarter, including product details, photos, and FAQ on our Kickstarter Page.