Hot Geraldine

A mug full of Hot Geraldine sits on a fireplace hearth, near a Christmas tree.

The Hot Geraldine is the Pandemic Pub’s version of a Hot Toddy. Folks, we simply didn’t have any whiskey, so we substituted Calvados and cognac! Purists may clutch their pearls, but rules are rules – we have bottles to empty over here!

And with this one, we managed to empty two. We’re very proud.

There’s a bit of a story to the name. In my very first semester of college, I lived in a very … eclectic … dorm. Because my school didn’t guarantee housing, I ended up living in a dorm on another college’s campus, but even more than that, our floor on the basement level consisted of a mix of everyone from freshmen to grad students. Oddly enough, there was also a group of ex-nuns who lived down there with us and were engaged in an unknown course of study at a third school. We often saw them on the grounds, hugging trees.

I’m not kidding. Oh, the stories! But I’ll confine myself to this one:

Geraldine was a student who lived on my floor that first semester. She was interested in the law, but I can’t remember if she were finishing undergrad, or beginning grad school. She was British and 35 and married, but her husband lived in San Diego. I liked her. She reserved the TV in the common room every Friday night so that she could watch Dallas and didn’t care if anyone else joined her or not.

She enjoyed get-togethers though, and if those gatherings happened to include adult beverages, so much the better. Geraldine was enthusiastic and often admitted to overdoing it at these little parties. Starting the following morning, she moved through the halls in her fluffy pink bathrobe and slippers and complained that her hangovers had grown to a couple of days in length and that she was too old for this. Whenever she caught a cold, or sometimes when nursing a hangover, she made a Hot Toddy for herself on a hot plate in her room and carried the mug with her on her rounds. I hadn’t heard of a Hot Toddy before, and to this day, I associate the phrase with Geraldine.

Cheers, Geraldine!


  • Calvados brandy

  • Cognac

  • Boiling water – in equal proportion to the alcohol

  • Lemon juice

  • Honey

  • Cloves

  • Cinnamon (boil sticks if you have them)

  • Nutmeg

  • Garnish
  • Lemon slice

  • Nutmeg


  • Boil water, and add cinnamon sticks and/or cloves if they’re whole, rather than ground. Strain out the whole pieces before serving.
  • Add the hot water to the alcohol; squeeze lemon and add honey.
  • Garnish and enjoy, preferably in front of a fire, not while wandering down the hallway of a really bizarre dormitory.
Enjoyed on December 12

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