This is the official Big Joe Beverage of the 2022 Polar Bear Plunge. Regardless of the outside temperature when you jump in to 30 something degree waters of the ocean you’re going to get cold. My hot toddy will make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Because of the pandemic we’ve been semi-quarantined and occasionally get the chance to get out and let the kids stretch their legs with snow activities like sledding, tubing, snowball fights, and building another Frosty the Snowman. After the kids come in from the cold the standard hot chocolate is made to warm them up.

What do the parents and adults have? You have to try my Big Joe’s Hot Toddy. It’s a great hot adult beverage that will warm you up and help relieve a muscle ache or two from being out in the cold with the kids.

Polar Bear Plunge 2019
(Bud McCormick)

I originally introduced this recipe for the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics New Jersey which happens around this time every year. Back in 2020 over 7,000 plungers took a dip into the 37-degree waters of the Atlantic to raise big money for Special Olympics New Jersey.

2017 Special Olympics New Jersey Polar Bear Plunge
Andrew Miller

Over 50,000 people crammed the boardwalk in Seaside Heights to watch this epic event. I counted down the plunge and off they went. My hot toddy was a drink for those plungers and attendees to warm up after that great experience.

The plungers and sponsors including the Law Enforcement Torch Run and the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association generated over $2.5 million dollars for Special Olympics New Jersey, an outstanding effort and collaboration.

You don’t have to plunge to enjoy my hot toddy. You deserve it here’s what you need. Cheers!


1 Earl Grey tea bag or a bag of your favorite black tea
10 oz. of almost boiling water
1-2 oz. of Bourbon
1 wedge of orange
1 tsp. of honey (Optional)
Orange slice with cloves pushed into it (Optional)
Cinnamon Stick (Optional)

How to put it together:

I like Earl Grey tea for this because it adds another layer of citrus but any quality black tea will work perfectly. In a kettle or small pot, heat the water just hot enough that it almost boils. In a large mug, pour hot water over the tea bag and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and discard.

Now depending on how cold you are from diving into the icy waters of the Atlantic, add 1 - 2 oz. of your favorite Bourbon. Squeeze a wedge of orange into the tea and gently stir to incorporate everything.

For me the juice form the orange and the natural sweet notes from the Bourbon are sweet enough. If you want it a bit sweeter or if you have a sore throat, you can add a tsp. of honey. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, or a slice of orange with a couple cloves pushed into it. Enjoy and feel the warmth start to return.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.


LOOK: Food history from the year you were born

From product innovations to major recalls, Stacker researched what happened in food history every year since 1921, according to news and government sources.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM