Perhaps the earliest form of a cocktail, toddies were created as a way to chase away the chill and offer relief from colds and flu. A couple hundred years later, we're still drinking them for the same reasons, though bartenders like John Ginnetti are upping the ante with premium spirits and creative combinations, making drinks you definitely want to sip while you're hale and hearty. For this New England-inspired version, the owner of 116 Crown in Connecticut reaches for Laird's applejack, which has been made in nearby New Jersey since the 1700's. Then he sweetens the mix with pure maple syrup, one of the state's biggest crops. Instead of adding traditional spices, he uses sweet vermouth and Averna, an Italian amaro, to give the drink aromatic complexity.
Combine applejack, vermouth, Averna, and maple syrup in a mug and stir until blended. Add the hot water and stir again. Garnish with the lemon peel, twisting it over the drink to release the oils.