Drink Local for the Holidays: Boozy Suggestions from the Folks at Phillips Distilling Company

By now you might know that I'm a fan of Phillips' brand Minnesota-local Prairie Organic Vodka, so when the Phillips' PR folks asked me to share a few of Dean Phillips' new holiday "hot toddy" recipes, I was game from the start.

A hot toddy, as far as I can figure out, is any drink that includes alcohol and is best served warm. Hot toddies warm the belly, and I'm pretty sure the right one can warm the soul too. Here's what Dean Phillips, CEO of Phillips Distilling Company says:

“Since a hot toddy can be topped off with a wide range of spirits, incorporating regularly available liquor like vodka can creates a whole new type of toddy. The sweet melon note of Prairie Organic Vodka goes perfectly with the traditional recipes of mixing honey and lemon juice as well as one of my favorites that combines apple cider and cinnamon flavors.”

All right, he ain't Julia Childs. Still, this sounds pretty darned simple, good, and tasty to me. Plus, you can score extra points with the in-laws by telling them it's all locally grown (at least you can try!):

Apple Cider Toddy

Pour an ounce of Prairie Organic Vodka into a mug, fill with natural hot apple cider and garnish with a cinnamon stick

This next recipe was, um, "developed" by Phillips as well. In Dean's words:

“Phillips Peppermint Schnapps, America’s very first schnapps brand, was invented by Al Dorsch, a sales representative for Ed. Phillips & Sons Co. who witnessed men dropping peppermint candies into shots of harsh, post-Prohibition bourbon in a Minneapolis saloon in 1935. This toddy honors Al’s fortuitous discovery.”  

Al’s Peppermint Paddy

 Pour an ounce of Phillips Peppermint Schnapps and a splash of Bourbon into a mug, fill with hot cocoa, top with fresh whipped cream and garnish with a sprig of mint.

I'm going to go ahead and add a decided non-local toddy to this list, one I recently found in Fast Company magazine. I'm including it because it sounds good and has a rich American history. If you come to my house on Christmas day (please call first), I'll make you one. 

Hot Apple Toddy (taken directly from Fast Company Magazine, where all credit is due)

Savoring George Washington's favorite cocktail is "one of the great pleasures of being an American," says Chad Solomon of the New York cocktail consultancy Cuff & Buttons.

To partake, combine 1.5 oz. of Laird's Applejack with a spoonful of Billington's Natural Demerara Sugar, and top it off with boiling water. Solomon also recommends tossing in a few wedges of a "beautifully acidic" Granny Smith Apple that have been wrapped in foil and baked at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, to balance out the mixture's rich sweetness, and then garnishing with aromatic spices such as fresh nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. "It's a wonderfully layered mixture," he adds, "like hot anesthesia."


Lee Zukor is the founder of Simple, Good, and Tasty. Email him at