The Old Sage

Simplicity and balance are key to creating a new cocktail recipe. I generally prefer a mild, natural sweetness to brace acidity and herbal or floral notes to stimulate the senses.
Photography By Chip Riegel | September 22, 2015


Dissolve honey into hot black tea in a heat-tempered glass. Add Aquavit and lemon juice and stir. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and 2 drops of orange blossom water.

About this recipe

There’s a certain comfort that comes with sipping a hot toddy. The heat ameliorates that seemingly impenetrable chill in the bones—solace, when your bare hands are cold and somehow your feet in their boots are colder. The toddy does not discriminate—whether it’s whiskey with hot tea, or hot buttered rum sweetened with maple syrup. It does just the trick to heat you up.

Cara Boyd, bartender at Justine’s in Providence, has devised her own signature toddy, The Old Sage, a blend of Aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit flavored with caraway seed, and hot black tea. The black tea stretches the floral aromas of the orange honey and fresh lemon juice calms the aggressive rye tones of the Aquavit. The hot liquid activates the herbal pungency of the fresh sage garnish. Orange blossom water adds a nectarous ethereal tone. The Old Sage is a successful synthesis of citrus, fresh herbs and a tinge of sweetness; leaving the tippler warmed and guessing the sum of its parts.

Words by Willa Van Nostrand / Recipe by Cara Boyd, Bartender, Justine’s, Providence

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  • 1 bar spoon (teaspoon) local honey (we use Annie B’s Orange Honey from Cumberland)
  • 4 ounces hot black tea (we like Providence Breakfast from Farmacy Herbs)
  • 1½ ounces Aquavit
  • ¼ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 fresh sage leaves for garnish
  • 2 drops orange blossom water
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