It’s been said that the medicinal cold weather cure-all of choice for William Faulkner was the hot toddy.
For anyone who has burst through their local saloon’s doors on a icy night in Boston, face frozen from the snapping wind, and called out for one to restore a little life in their limbs, it’s one of many reinforcing examples of Faulkner’s general imbibing-related intelligence (as was his old adage: “Well, between Scotch and nothin’, I suppose I’d take Scotch. It’s the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find”).
While there is no shortage of varieties to be found in town at bars both high and dive, stopping into Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale downtown means you’ll be facing an interesting, simple twist on the classic bourbon-based quick picker-upper. As bar manager Jamie Walsh puts it, “It’s for people who like shit set on fire.”
“Ours is inspired by one that caught my eye a few years back, watching something Dave DeGroff (aka: “King Cocktail”) was doing,” he says. “He’s kinda the Godfather of what we’re doing cocktail-wise in this side of industry. He’s NYC’s version of [legendary Boston mixologist] Brother Cleve.”
In short, it’s a small amendment and improvisation on the traditional recipe, using as a base Spanish coffee, which is poured into a thin wine glass after being lined with triple sec and 151 over-proof rum. With a long stick, the over-proof is set ablaze and allowed to burn a bit. By twirling the fire, the bartender can make sure the sugar hardens around the glass before adding the Kahlua, coffee, and lightly-whipped cream with grated fresh cinnamon on top. Sweet, unctuous, and with the sweet burn of rum. Faulkner was right.
“It’s different and fun,” says Walsh. “When people see it [on a cold night] they just say, ‘That’s what I want.’”
FLAMING HOT TODDY. $11. AVAILABLE AT STODDARD’S FOOD AND ALE. 48 TEMPLE PLACE, BOSTON. 617-526-0048.