Twitter was so excited about William Faulkner’s mint julep yesterday that it seemed wrong, especially at the holidays, to withhold his cure for anything from “a bad spill from a horse to a bad cold, from a broken leg to a broken heart.” (So said Dean Faulkner Wells.)
I’ll stick with Kate’s hot toddy, personally. But here, as told to The Great American Writers’ Cookbook by Faulkner’s niece, are directions for making his version.
Pappy alone decided when a Hot Toddy was needed, and he administered it to his patient with the best bedside manner of a country doctor.
He prepared it in the kitchen in the following way: Take one heavy glass tumbler. Fill approximately half full with Heaven Hill bourbon (the Jack Daniel’s was reserved for Pappy’s ailments). Add one tablespoon of sugar. Squeeze 1/2 lemon and drop into glass. Stir until sugar dissolves. Fill glass with boiling water. Serve with potholder to protect patient’s hands from the hot glass.
Pappy always made a small ceremony out of serving his Hot Toddy, bringing it upstairs on a silver tray and admonishing his patient to drink it quickly, before it cooled off. It never failed.
See also Rosie Schaap’s glogg and gingersnaps, Eudora Welty’s recipe for “Charles Dickens’ eggnog,” Faulkner’s bourbon trolley, Kate Christensen’s food (and life) blog, Ford Madox Ford’s Provencal chicken, and my winter cold Rx.
Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten, via the Library of Congress.