The Story Behind The Tropical Toddy

Esquire Tavern opened in San Antonio in 1933 and holds the unusual distinction of having the longest wooden bar top in Texas. It stretches some 100-plus feet.

This tropical hot toddy, named for its use of Hamilton Pimento Dram, a Jamaican allspice liqueur, is incredibly versatile. Try it with bourbon, rum, or apple brandy.


  • 1 ½ ounces spirit, such as apple brandy, bourbon, or rum
  • ½ ounce honey syrup, recipe follows
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce Hamilton Pimento Dram
  • 4 ounces warm water, either cooled from boiling or heated to approximately 200 degrees
  • Lemon zest and cloves for garnish


  1. Shake all ingredients except water in a cocktail shaker without ice.
  2. Pour into a warmed mug, and add water. Stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with a wide swath of lemon zest, studded with cloves. (Esquire Tavern’s bartenders light the cloves with a match and express the lemon peel over the drink while the cloves burn out. Feel free to garnish without the pyrotechnics, if you're feeling less ambitious.)

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Updated: 2019-01-13

Honey Syrup Ingredients

  • 3 ounces honey
  • 1 ounce water

Honey Syrup Directions

  1. Mix honey and water in a small pot over medium heat, stirring.
  2. When the mixture starts to steam, and feels hot if you hold your hand several inches above the surface of the liquid, remove from heat.
  3. Let cool before using.
The Tropical Toddy Recipe