Golden Bear’s annual hot toddy competition heats up tonight

The Golden Bear’s hot toddy competition has become a fixture on the local nightlife scene, and it’s easy to see why.

The competition is stiff, the atmosphere jovial and even the worst entries have plenty of alcohol in them. Actually, there won’t be any bad drinks served. Only the best of the best are invited to vie for this title.

The 3rd Annual Santa's Tavern & Hot Toddy Competition is tonight at 7 o’clock at The Golden Bear, 2326 K St. Judges include executive chef Ravin Patel and barman Chris Dooley, both highly regarded talents at Ella Dining Room & Bar.

While I stop short of offering unsolicited medical advice, I’m told that the classic hot toddy is pretty much a cure for all that ails you. Traditionally, it was the elixir you had right before you went to bed. It helped you sleep, made you better looking, more successful and a hit with the opposite sex — at least until you woke up to reality. And when reality gets you down — it’s hot toddy time again. See how this works? It’s all part of the circle of life.

This hot toddy competition should inspire all kinds of creativity because the recipes for this drink can vary greatly, beginning with liquor, water, sugar and a variety of seasonal spices like nutmeg, ginger and cloves — served hot, of course.

My new copy of “Cocktails: The Bartender’s Bible” (11th Edition) by Simon Difford, actually has three hot toddy recipes — two with Scotch and one with cognac.

Sweeteners include honey, cane sugar or some combination therein.

Which hot toddy is best? Show up at The Golden Bear, drink with an enthusiasm tempered by common sense and fair play, then savor the aromas, spices and warmth of the hot toddy done well.