The Riff

The Holiday Hot Toddy, Three Ways

By: Jacob Hollifield

New Orleans’ beverage director Kimberly Patton-Bragg shares three variations on the hot toddy to make holiday spirits bright

Behind the creole architecture exterior of the French Quarter’s Palm & Pine, an outstretched hand welcomes guests to the port city before guiding them—in accordance with the restaurant’s concept—to “the South, and south of that.”

“It’s anything from the Southern region and then Central and South America,” beverage director Kimberly Patton-Bragg says. “So, it’s a playground of things to work with.”

Patton-Bragg, a long-time cocktail aficionado with stints at Justine’s and Molly’s on the Market, has also blended this concept with her own ethos: “I’m not going to work where I won’t eat.”

The natural result is that the growth of the cocktail menu starts with a conversation with the kitchen. “I’m always a bar for the restaurant,” she says. “And so I make sure that I’m working as hard and creating as much as I can to complement what they do.”

When the holidays near, Patton-Bragg draws on the flavors of the season, things that bring her comfort, and tradition when conceptualizing cocktails that may hook those bellying up at Palm & Pine. One especially meaningful tradition for the past 15 years has entailed meeting with her good friend, barman and owner of Jewel of the South, Chris Hannah, at Jackson Square—her with cookies in tow, him with a thermos of mulled wine—to socialize with fellow New Orleanian bartenders on Christmas Day.

Kimberly Patton-Bragg mixing a cocktail
Image by Sam Hanna

“It’s the only day when all the bartenders can see each other,” she says, which, when coupled with the scenery and music in the square, makes a perfect backdrop for celebrating with fellow food-and-beverage family.

Warmth is a source of inspiration for Patton-Bragg’s holiday cocktails, too. Drawing on the classic hot toddy, she chills the historically Indian libation, adding her own sweet spin with a spiced honey syrup and then adapting the recipe into an old fashioned variation.

For those entertaining, Patton-Bragg’s Gingerman Can echoes all the flavor notes of the hot toddy old fashioned with punches of extra citrus and spice to ensure that your guests’ spirits are—and stay—bright.

Three Riffs on the Holiday Hot Toddy

Kimberly Patton-Bragg’s Classic Hot Toddy recipe in a glass garnished with a cinnamon stick
Image by Sam Hanna

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

Kimberly Patton-Bragg’s classic hot toddy recipe is a traditional, comforting drink to warm you this season.

Kimberly Patton-Bragg’s Christmas cocktail, an Old Fashioned Hot Toddy, in a glass beside a pitcher of ice
Image by Sam Hanna

Hot Toddy Old Fashioned

This holiday hot toddy riff uses the flavors of the season to put a spicy, old fashioned spin on the traditional hot toddy.

Kimberly Patton-Bragg’s Christmas cocktial The Gingerman Can, a holiday hot toddy, in a short glass with ice and garnished with a cinnamon stick and clove-studded lemon slices
Image by Sam Hanna

The Gingerman Can

For those entertaining, Patton-Bragg’s Christmas cocktail, the Gingerman Can, echoes all the flavor notes of the her hot toddy old fashioned with punches of extra citrus and spice to ensure that your guests’ spirits are—and stay—bright.

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