Christmas is, of course, just about upon us. Whether you’ve got kids and are struggling to make sure Santa arrives on schedule or a lonely singleton with enough time on his hands to fret about uncertain times (that would be me), there’s a very good chance that a warm, soothing, sweet yet far from insipid alcoholic beverage might be just the thing to relax with after a long day of holiday preparations or a long night of holiday partying. I think I’ve got just the thing.
Bobo’s Toddy is my very simple variation/simplification of Babbo’s Toddy, a drink we are told was created by New York bartender Erick Castro. It’s a very sound cold weather twist on the Boulevardier, but the original recipe calls for a healthy amount of cinnamon syrup, something I didn’t have on hand and didn’t feel like running out to buy one night not long ago when I was determined to work up a very proper Christmas cocktail. So, I found a couple of other ingredients that I thought would work just as well, and I’m happy to say I can endorse the results of what I’m calling Bobo’s Toddy… after, you know, me! It’s a drink I’m happy to put all three letters of my first name in. If this drink won’t help you wind down, you might not be wind-downable.
1 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce falernum or orgeat (almond syrup)
1/2 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Campari
1 orange slice (highly advisable garnish)
Heat up an eight-ounce coffee cup by filling it with very hot water for a few minutes. Empty the cup and add the liquid ingredients. Top up with boiling water, then add the orange slice. Do your best to think warm, cozy thoughts. If you can’t, just drink the thing. Some warm coziness should shortly follow.
The most dramatic choice you have with this drink is whether to use falernum or orgeat. The orgeat tastes lovely but, since this is already a fairly low alcohol beverage, I lean towards the latter. If you’ve never heard of falernum, you’re not alone. It’s a very sweet and syrupy liqueur commonly used in tiki cocktails that has a lovely mix of flavors including ginger and almond. (Some falernums, I understand, are actually non-alcoholic syrups. If you’ve got that, it would also be fine here.) In any case, I’d say use whichever is easier for you to come back.
As for the other boozes, Campari is always Campari, and it’s a very important part of this drink, since its bitter notes give the whole thing quite a bit of crucial depth. I used both Martini and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, which was a bit better. (That’s why they get to charge the big bucks.) I only had Corner Creek bourbon on hand this week, but I think other brands would be fine. Other types of whiskey might also be okay too, though I didn’t think to try a rye with this until just this moment. Maybe I’ll have it that way next Christmas… but with cinnamon syrup.