The Consolidated Library of Modern Cooking and Household Recipes was edited by Christine Terhune Herrick, published in 1905, and offers many practical tips about things like when to add fruit to your alcoholic beverages, as you'll see below.
So what is brandy? Brandy is distilled wine and like wine, is usually made of grapes. I used Cognac, which refers to the region in France the brandy comes from. Alone, it tasted sort of woodsy and warm – almost more like whiskey than wine. At first I wasn’t feeling it, but soon enough I was sipping it solo from a shot glass. (I also had the sniffles and it seemed vaguely medicinal.)
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t drink grape and grain spirits in the same night, fearing an excruciating hangover, this hot toddy is a perfect ending to an evening of wine.
Tips for lazy people:
• I used a little juice glass (my "hot bar-glass"), which I filled half with brandy and half with boiling water – all according to the tips above.
• You can replace the sugar with honey, for a more subtle sweetness. (I liked it both ways.)
• I really did grate the nutmeg. A few years ago my mom bought me a Microplane zester, and using it to grate a whole nutmeg (which looks like an acorn) over drinks brings me great joy. I also use it for lemon zest and Parmesan cheese (on pasta, not cocktails). It’s a good investment if you cook at home, but if it sounds too fussy, there’s always the nutmeg shaker in the spice section.