Here North There shares pandemic comfort with new song Hot Toddy
It’s one of the first heavy rains of fall 2020 in Vancouver. My wife, Emma, and I are heading over to our friend Sam’s place in East-Van, bringing some drinks and my Seagull M4, a new dulcimer-inspired (think Joni Mitchell – California) instrument I’ve been trying out. Covid-19 case numbers are low in British Columbia, but eerily steady after a hopeful summer. We are holding our breath that a second wave does not come, or if it does, that we are able to collectively flatten the curve once again. At this time in BC, indoor gatherings are restricted to a “safe six”- a small bubble that only visits with each other. We have bubbled with Sam’s household.
A cozy night of food, drink and music passes. Dinner is enjoyed, followed by a fresh baked loaf and ice cream for dessert. After examination of the liquor cabinet and fridge – the suggestion to make hot toddies emerges. Sam busts out the violin. We riff on a number of different improvisations, before winding up singing about hot toddies, each of us making up lines about various elements of the evening. In contrast to the challenges and anxieties of the times – we went home with hearts and bellies full.
It has now been a full year since the World Health Organization announcement of an international pandemic. In BC, indoor gatherings of any kind have been restricted since November, and only recently have inter-household outdoor gatherings been re-introduced. After that night at Sam’s, I compiled our various improvisations into a song. Through the winter, playing this song was soothing when being together with friends and family was not possible. There does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel- but if I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s to let go of expectations.
Songs are a sort of time capsule – if you get it just right, you can capture a feeling, a moment, into an emotional space that you can revisit anytime you want to. In sharing our song Hot Toddy, we hope it offers you a moment of comfort, especially as you navigate the ongoing complexities of this pandemic. Additionally, should you desire the comfort of an actual, burns-on-the-way-down beverage, or a fresh baked, ice-cream-melting slice of banana loaf, the band has provided our go-to recipes below.
Listen to Hot Toddy here:
Comforting hot whisky drink
- 3/4 cup water
- 1.5 ounces whiskey or more if the occasion calls for it
- 2 tbsp lemon juice half a lemon
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 slice lemon
- 1 small scoop butter optional
Bring water to a simmer. Combine hot water, whiskey, lemon juice, and honey in your mug of choice, stirring to combine. Garnish with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick. And of course, there is always the option to melt in a cheeky scoop of butter.
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
3 medium mashed bananas
1+3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Add mashed bananas and blend.
In the second bowl, stir flour with baking soda and baking powder. Add to the banana mixture stirring only to moisten. Add chocolate last.
Transfer to a greased 9X5X3 inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on the rack to cool.
Find more music from Here North There by clicking HERE
Chris Altrogge writes, sings, and plays guitar for Vancouver band Here North There. Chris lives a few steps from Sunset Beach with his wife Emma, and when not working on music, can generally be found cooking, cycling or attempting to go to bed early.
We are thankful to have Chris as a guest once again. You can read his previous articles below.