Hot Toddy Cocktail Drink

Hot Toddy

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

If you’re looking to warm up, this hot toddy recipe is just what you need! The ingredients are simple, and the drink is super easy to make.

Hot Toddy Recipe

Warm up with this simple Hot Toddy recipe! Crafted with whiskey, honey, and a touch of lemon, this cozy cocktail is your go-to for chilly evenings.

Prep time:

2 minutes

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

146 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Hot water
  • Lemon slice or twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Mug
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Mug: Warm your mug by filling it with hot water, then discard the water.
  • Add Honey: Pour 1 tbsp honey into the mug.
  • Add Lemon: Squeeze ½ oz lemon juice into the mug.
  • Add Whiskey: Add 1 oz Whiskey to the mix.
  • Pour Hot Water: Fill the mug with hot water.
  • Stir: Use a spoon to stir all the ingredients together.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon slice or twist for garnish.
  • Add Cinnamon: Place a cinnamon stick into the mug.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Whiskey: I've used rum or brandy when I'm out of whiskey. Both work well and bring their own unique flavors.
  • Honey: Maple syrup or agave nectar are great vegan alternatives to honey. They add a different kind of sweetness that's just as satisfying.
  • Cinnamon Stick: Ground cinnamon can be used, but be cautious—just a pinch will do.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 8 oz of whiskey, 8 bsp of honey, 4 oz of lemon juice, and 8 cinnamon sticks.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon sticks. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into individual mugs, add hot water, garnish with a lemon slice or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Whiskey Substitute: Use apple juice or a non-alcoholic whiskey substitute.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps for a non-alcoholic versions.

Making it Vegan:

  • Honey Substitute: Use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey to make your drink vegan-friendly.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
146
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.02
g
0
%
Sodium
 
1
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
18
g
20
%
Potassium
 
41
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.3
g
1
%
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
11
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
37
mg
4
%
Iron
 
0.4
mg
2
%

 

Hot Toddy Cocktail Drink

Hot Toddy Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Warm up with this simple Hot Toddy recipe! Crafted with whiskey, honey, and a touch of lemon, this cozy cocktail is your go-to for chilly evenings.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 146

Ingredients
 

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Hot water
  • Lemon slice or twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Mug
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Mug: Warm your mug by filling it with hot water, then discard the water.
  • Add Honey: Pour 1 tbsp honey into the mug.
  • Add Lemon: Squeeze ½ oz lemon juice into the mug.
  • Add Whiskey: Add 1 oz Whiskey to the mix.
  • Pour Hot Water: Fill the mug with hot water.
  • Stir: Use a spoon to stir all the ingredients together.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon slice or twist for garnish.
  • Add Cinnamon: Place a cinnamon stick into the mug.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Whiskey: I've used rum or brandy when I'm out of whiskey. Both work well and bring their own unique flavors.
  • Honey: Maple syrup or agave nectar are great vegan alternatives to honey. They add a different kind of sweetness that's just as satisfying.
  • Cinnamon Stick: Ground cinnamon can be used, but be cautious—just a pinch will do.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 8 oz of whiskey, 8 bsp of honey, 4 oz of lemon juice, and 8 cinnamon sticks.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon sticks. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into individual mugs, add hot water, garnish with a lemon slice or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Whiskey Substitute: Use apple juice or a non-alcoholic whiskey substitute.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps for a non-alcoholic versions.

Making it Vegan:

  • Honey Substitute: Use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey to make your drink vegan-friendly.

What is a Hot Toddy?

A hot toddy is a traditional warm cocktail made with whiskey, honey, and lemon. People often turn to this drink for its comforting qualities, especially during cold weather or when feeling under the weather. The hot toddy has a long history, believed to have originated in Scotland. You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate a good hot toddy. This classic hot toddy recipe may seem sophisticated, but it’s remarkably straightforward.A sido shot if a Hot Toddy cocktail in a mug on a brown wooden table with a cinnamon stick on the side and orange slices behind.

What is a Hot Toddy made of – The ingredients

Get these ingredients to prepare a Hot Toddy:

  • Whiskey: Provides the base spirit and warmth for the cocktail.
  • Honey: Adds natural sweetness and a smooth texture.
  • Lemon: Offers a touch of acidity and brightness to balance the flavors.
  • Hot Water: Dilutes the other ingredients and provides the necessary heat.
  • Cinnamon Stick or Ground Cinnamon (optional): Adds a hint of spice for complexity.
  • Lemon Slice or Twist (optional): Serves as garnish and adds a subtle citrus aroma.

Whiskey, honey, hot water and lemons laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Hot Toddy?

Our guide shows you every step to make a Hot Toddy:

1
<p>First, warm up your mug by filling it with hot water, then empty the water out.</p>

First, warm up your mug by filling it with hot water, then empty the water out.

2
<p>Add 1 bar spoon of honey to bring in natural sweetness.</p>

Add 1 bar spoon of honey to bring in natural sweetness.

3
<p>Squeeze ½ oz of lemon juice into the mug to introduce a bit of acidity.</p>

Squeeze ½ oz of lemon juice into the mug to introduce a bit of acidity.

4
<p>Pour 1 ounce of whiskey into the mug as the base for your cocktail.</p>

Pour 1 ounce of whiskey into the mug as the base for your cocktail.

5
<p>Fill the mug with hot water to dilute the ingredients and provide warmth.</p>

Fill the mug with hot water to dilute the ingredients and provide warmth.

6
<p>Stir all the ingredients together with a spoon to ensure they’re well-mixed.</p>

Stir all the ingredients together with a spoon to ensure they’re well-mixed.

7
<p>Garnish your hot toddy with a lemon slice or twist for an added citrus aroma.</p>

Garnish your hot toddy with a lemon slice or twist for an added citrus aroma.

8
<p>If you’re using a cinnamon stick, place it in the mug for a touch of spice; if you’re using ground cinnamon, sprinkle just a pinch.</p>

If you’re using a cinnamon stick, place it in the mug for a touch of spice; if you’re using ground cinnamon, sprinkle just a pinch.

9
<p>Enjoy your hot toddy immediately, savoring the comforting blend of flavors.</p>

Enjoy your hot toddy immediately, savoring the comforting blend of flavors.

Best whiskey for a Hot Toddy

Picking the right whiskey for your hot toddy is key to nailing the drink. If you’re going for a smooth, classic vibe, bourbons like Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace are reliable picks. They bring a natural sweetness that meshes well with the honey and lemon. On the flip side, if you’re a Jack Daniel’s fan, you’re in luck. This Tennessee whiskey has a smooth, charcoal-mellowed character with hints of caramel and vanilla that work well in a hot toddy. But if you’re asking me for a top recommendation, I’d point you toward a rye whiskey like Bulleit Rye. The spiciness of rye adds a kick that balances out the sweetness and tartness, making your drink a well-rounded affair.

Using rum instead of whiskey

Switching out whiskey for rum in a hot toddy is a game-changer. Rum brings a different kind of warmth and sweetness that pairs well with the honey and lemon. If you’re a rum fan, this tweak turns the classic hot toddy into a whole new experience. For a rich, full-bodied flavor, you might want to try using a dark rum like Mount Gay or Kraken. If you prefer something lighter, Bacardi or Captain Morgan are solid picks. My personal suggestion? Go for a spiced rum. It adds an extra layer of complexity with its blend of spices, making your hot toddy even more comforting.

Hot Toddy with Tea

Adding tea to a hot toddy is like giving it a flavor upgrade. Instead of just hot water, you get an extra layer of taste that complements the whiskey, honey, and lemon. Whether you go for a classic black tea, a floral chamomile, or even a spicy chai, each choice brings its own unique twist to the drink. Earl Grey, with its hints of bergamot, pairs exceptionally well with the citrusy notes of the lemon. If you’re looking for a caffeine-free option, herbal teas like peppermint or rooibos work great.

A Hot Toddy cocktail, shot from above, in a mug on a brown wooden table with a cinnamon stick on the side and two orange slices on a black stone plate.

Hot Toddy with Brandy

Switching out whiskey for brandy in a hot toddy is like hitting the flavor jackpot. Brandy brings a fruity, almost wine-like quality to the table that pairs incredibly well with the honey and lemon. If you’re a brandy aficionado, this is a must-try. Brands like Hennessy or Courvoisier offer a rich, full-bodied experience, while something like E&J is more budget-friendly without skimping on flavor. My personal tip? Go for an apple brandy like Calvados. It adds a crisp, apple undertone that makes the drink feel like a warm, liquid apple pie. If you’re looking to shake things up, brandy is a fantastic way to do it.

Does a Hot Toddy actually help a cold (sore throat, flu, coughs, sinus infection,…)?

The hot toddy is a go-to comfort drink when dealing with a cold, flu, or sinus infection. 

But let’s set the record straight: it’s not a medical remedy. Health experts don’t endorse using alcohol as a treatment for any of these conditions. Actually, alcohol can make things worse by dehydrating your body, which is the last thing you need when you’re sick.

That said, some parts of a hot toddy can offer a bit of relief. The hot water can soothe your throat and even help clear some congestion. Lemon juice is packed with vitamin C, which is always a plus for your immune system. And honey has been shown to act as a natural cough suppressant. So, while it’s not a cure-all, a hot toddy has components that can make you feel better.

If you’re under the weather, your best bet is to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. A hot toddy might provide some comfort, but it’s not a replacement for medical advice and treatment.

A side shot of a Hot Toddy cocktail in a mug with a cinnamon stick on the side and two orange slices on a black stone plate behind.

Variations

Seeking additional twists? Here’s a list of our top favorites:

  • Apple Cider Toddy: This recipe swaps hot water with warm apple cider, infusing a fruity twist that really enhances the drink’s autumnal feel. I personally love how the apple cider’s natural sweetness adds a comforting touch, making it perfect for chilly fall evenings.
  • Bourbon Toddy: By using bourbon instead of whiskey, this drink gains a sweeter, fuller-bodied character, lending a unique kind of warmth and complexity. I appreciate the bourbon’s sweetness and how it pairs with the spices, creating a cozy and sophisticated flavor.
  • Spiced Rum Toddy: In this mix, spiced rum takes the place of whiskey, introducing an extra layer of flavor from the spices in the rum. This addition makes every sip a more aromatic and exciting experience.
  • Ginger Toddy: Adding a slice of fresh ginger, this variation introduces a spicy kick that’s particularly soothing for sore throats, ideal for cold nights. I enjoy the ginger’s sharpness as it provides a refreshing counterpoint to the sweetness.
  • Maple Toddy: Here, maple syrup is used instead of honey, offering an earthy sweetness that brings to mind a cozy cabin in the woods. The maple syrup’s richness makes the drink more grounded and rustic, which I find very appealing.
  • Chai Toddy: By using hot chai tea instead of water, this recipe adds a blend of spices that seamlessly merge with the other ingredients, creating a warm and exotic flavor. The chai spices transform the drink into a more aromatic and captivating experience.
  • Coconut Toddy: This one includes coconut water instead of hot water, adding a tropical flair. The subtle sweetness and unique flavor of coconut make this drink comforting yet distinctly different.
  • Brandy Toddy: Choosing brandy as the base spirit, this drink benefits from the fruitiness of the brandy, which complements the other ingredients well, offering a different but delightful taste experience. The fruit notes of the brandy harmonize well with the spices.
  • Chamomile Toddy: This version steeps a chamomile tea bag in hot water, adding calming properties to the drink, making it an excellent choice for relaxation. I find the chamomile’s soothing qualities ideal for a relaxing evening; it feels like a warm, comforting embrace in a mug.

History and Origins

The hot toddy traces its roots back to Scotland, where it likely originated as a medicinal drink. Scots initially used it to treat ailments like colds, flu, and even sore throats. The name “toddy” is believed to come from “taddy,” which was an old Scottish term for a drink made from alcohol, hot water, and spices. Over time, the drink crossed the Atlantic and gained popularity in America, especially during Prohibition, as people considered it a remedy for various illnesses.

In the 18th century, British traders introduced the concept of the hot toddy to India. However, the Indian version, also known as “taddy,” was a fermented palm sap drink. The British adapted this into a hot beverage with spirits, sweeteners, and spices, which more closely resembles the hot toddy we know today.

A Hot Toddy cocktail, shot from above, in a mug on a brown wooden table with a cinnamon stick on the side and two orange slices on a black stone plate.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a hot toddy?
It contains approximately 150-200 calories, depending on the sweetener and alcohol used.
How strong is a hot toddy in terms of ABV and proof?
The strength varies, but a typically has an ABV of around 10-15% and a proof of 20-30, considering the dilution from hot water.
What type of alcohol is used in a hot toddy?
Whiskey is the traditional choice of alcohol.
In which glass is a hot toddy typically served?
The drink is usually served in a mug or an Irish coffee glass.
What does a hot toddy taste like?
It's a warm, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor profile, balanced by the acidity of lemon.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a hot toddy?
The common ratio is 1:1:0.5 for whiskey, honey, and lemon juice, diluted with hot water to taste.
How is a hot toddy served in terms of ice or temperature?
It's served hot, without ice, making it different from most cocktails.

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