Bar Talk: You’re sure to warm to Limelight’s Chai Toddy |

Bar Talk: You’re sure to warm to Limelight’s Chai Toddy

The Chai Toddy is a great winter cocktail.

I have been intrigued by the Chai Toddy on the menu at Limelight Aspen for a while.

Finally, after trying to order the hot cocktail a few times only to be told that it is out, I succeeded and was presented with the wonderfully warming, slightly spicy drink.

Presumably, it’s only on the menu for a limited wintertime run since it’s under the apres hot section, and I’m assuming that’s a category that won’t be long for the menu once spring turns to summer, and the number of people craving hot drinks decreases.

It looks all the part of a traditional hot toddy — hot water, whiskey, lemon, and honey (A cinnamon stick is optional) — but it definitely has a more robust flavor, thanks to the fact that it’s brewed with chai tea, not just hot water.

The result of this revision — made with bourbon, chai tea, and honey and garnished with an orange segment — is an extra flavorful toddy.

The vanilla notes of the bourbon pair nicely with the spices (typically cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, and cloves) of the chai, giving it a smooth finish — no bite from the liquor detectable.

Chai Toddy.

Although bourbon has an inherent sweetness to it, the honey in the toddy doesn’t make it overly sweet, again probably thanks to the chai spices and the ability of the bartender to combine all the flavors into a well-balanced drink.

The one flavor that I did not find was the citrus from the orange. It wasn’t until the last few sips that I could really taste the bright orange flavor. Once I knew what I was missing, I wish I had more of that throughout the beverage. However, that’s on me, in that I could’ve given the slice a squeeze to inject the flavor throughout; but again, I didn’t know what exactly I was missing until the end of the drink.

If I’m going critique one major thing about the cocktail — and feel free to ignore this critique as it’s so very minor — it would be the glass it was served in. While aesthetically pleasing, the handle was so small and low on the glass that it made it awkward to hold; and when you’re sipping a hot drink, the handle becomes a rather important piece of the glassware. My dad has a certain number of criteria that a mug must pass to make it a mug worth purchasing, and I will say, this mug did not pass the “holdability” test.

I know some people don’t love a hot toddy, but I believe that’s because they either had a bad one — i.e., no flavor and too watery — or they don’t like tea to start with. So in that case, why order the hot cocktail?

Personally, I enjoy toddies, but I find that I enjoy different bars’ renditions of hot toddies far more than the original.

If you’re looking to try another creative version, check out Hooch’s Tiki Toddy —a tropical toddy that I wrote about last winter and remains one of my favorite winter warmers.

At $17, the Chai Toddy was good and strong. These hot drinks have a way of being stronger than they taste, so typically one is all you need. For my wallet’s sake, I’m happy to be satisfied with one.

It’s a fun winter drink that I’m glad I finally tried, and as I sipped, it got me reflecting on my own tea cabinet at home and what toddy version I could brew up.

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