There aren't many days in Los Angeles that warrant the drinking of hot booze, but today is one of those days. Which is apropos, because today is National Hot Toddy day, a cocktail that predates the word "cocktail."
No one really knows when and where the hot toddy was invented, although it's known that it's been around for hundreds of years. In 1805, a professor at Yale traveled to the British Isles and reported on the custom of drinking hot toddies. Many people think the word "toddy" comes from the Indian word for fermented palm tree sap.
The hot toddy needs three ingredients for it to be a hot toddy: liquor, sweetener and hot liquid. The amounts and types of these ingredients, plus other additives, are up to the maker.
Here's a basic recipe: Put a couple of ounces of whiskey in a glass, with a teaspoon or so of sugar and fill up with boiling water. If you decide to add lemon peel it will be delicious, but then the drink is technically a "skin" -- though no one will blame you if you drink a skin to celebrate this very special day.
(And for perhaps the worst riff on a hot drink ever, read Derek Brown's fantastic piece today about how bartenders should stop making up so many drinks with an admission that he once made ... wait for it ... a hot cosmo.)