“For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”
-Robert Burns 1788
Toddy or a ‘het pint’ is the traditional drink at Hogmanay. Hogmanay is the New Year’s celebration in Scotland that takes place on the 31st December. Its origins reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Vikings, who would hold wild, crazy parties in late December. There are many traditions intrinsic to Hogmanay; first-footing at 12am to bring good luck to the household; the singing of the iconic song ‘Auld Lang Syne’; and the endless consumption of tasty food and drinks- including toddy. The toddy itself is made from ale, whisky, eggs, sugar and spice, all heated together – think mulled cider but with a bit more of a kick!
With a signature drink comes an accompanying signature implement and yes, you guessed it: the toddy ladle. A toddy ladle is, as it sounds, similar to an average ladle. The difference being that usually it is smaller in size. Like a ladle, it has a long handle, to enable easy access to the bottom of the punch bowl. The handle of a toddy ladle can be crafted out of many different materials, such as horn, wood, whalebone, and silver. The bowl of the toddy ladle is often made in silver or silver gilt and is highly ornate. Sometimes the bowl will have a curved lip to either side, allowing for secure pouring.
Another way of dispensing the toddy it is the toddy lifter, which looks like a small, slender glass decanter with a hole in the bottom. The lifter would be plunged into the toddy until full, with a finger placed over the neck, lifted out and released over the glass.
Of course, the silver toddy ladle doesn’t have to be used exclusively at Hogmanay. They are often used to serve drinks at Burn’s Night, or in fact any occasion that warrants it. Become an A-grade host and also get back to your Celtic roots with a toddy ladle!
Rachel Atkinson – Digital Assistant
Rachel is AC Silver's Digital Assistant helping the website and marketing team with many digital tasks including blog post creation and social media assignments.