Like a wool sweater or a log fire, a steaming hot toddy is a simple but sublime winter warmer. Traditionally composed of a shot of spirits (gin, rum, or whiskey), a spoonful of sugar, and hot water and garnished with nutmeg, this uncomplicated cocktail has eased generations through the pains of storms and sickness. Though the hot toddy appears to have originated in 18th-century Scotland, where a sweetened mixture of malt whisky was consumed with gusto as a remedy for the common cold, it wasn't long afterward that the tipple arrived on American shores and was heartily embraced by colonists. Indeed, according to Revolutionary-era anecdotes, soldiers in search of liquid courage often heated their toddies by stirring them with glowing fireplace pokers from the local tavern. As David Wondrich notes in his new history of the cocktail, Imbibe!, "The old days were hard, but the people who lived them found ways of making them tolerable."