May 4, 2021
The hot toddy is a classic drink from the mid-18th century that started out as more of a health tonic than a cocktail. It was a common home remedy combining a liquor, hot water, sugar, spices and lemon peel. Traditionally, it’s mixed with whiskey—but has since morphed into several varieties. Spiced rum and dark rum or even brandy are options.
Hot toddies are now known for their warming properties, but were originally used to ease cold symptoms like congestion and sore throat. The combination of whiskey as a potent painkiller, the vitamin C of lemons and the soothing texture of honey really seems to help. However, today the hot toddy is more than just a cold remedy—it’s also a delicious cocktail that’s perfect for chilly nights or as a sweet, hydrating nightcap.
The traditional hot toddy recipe is fairly simple, but because it’s a hot drink, it requires some time on the stove and a few steps. You’ll want to have all the ingredients ready to go in advance, so order your supplies from Gopuff for delivery in just 30 minutes. Here’s how you make a hot toddy.
Hot Toddy Recipe
- Prep: 10 mins
- Total: 10 mins
- Serving: Makes 1 cocktail
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 oz whiskey: choose bourbon or rye (learn about the different types of whiskey)
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tsp honey
- 4 cloves
- Prep your ingredients: Peel the lemon and stick cloves into the peel, cut some lemon slices for a garnish and squeeze 1/4 oz juice from the remaining lemon. Set aside.
- Boil water in a kettle or pot.
- Fill the mug halfway with boiling water.
- Add 2 teaspoons of honey to the mug and stir.
- Add your prepared lemon peel and cloves.
- Add 1/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 2 oz whiskey, then stir.
- Add lemon slices as desired.
- As an option, add a cinnamon stick.
- Now get warm and cozy and enjoy your hot toddy.
Hot Toddy Variations
If you want to change it up, there are several alternatives you can add to this hot toddy recipe. For a vegan option, skip the honey and use maple syrup, agave syrup or brown sugar. Also consider steeping black tea in the mug, or even adding some apple cider. We especially like the ginger toddy featured in “13 Winter Cocktails to Warm You Up This Season.”
If you like your hot toddy, we think you’ll like one of these other whiskey cocktails, too.