Hot Toddy

Tested & Perfected Recipes

A hot toddy is a classic and warming whiskey cocktail.

This post contains an affiliate link.

A hot toddy is a classic and warming whiskey cocktail infused with honey, lemon, and spices. My grandmother swore by it as a cure-all for colds, insomnia, or whatever ails you. But it’s also just the thing to warm yourself up on a chilly evening—especially this year since we’re all freezing our tushies off socializing outdoors.

This hot toddy recipe is adapted from my favorite new cocktail book, Give Me Liberty and Give Me a Drink! by C. Jarrett Dieterle. Full disclosure: Jarrett is my literary agent’s husband, but he is also a talented mixologist as well as a leading national alcohol policy expert. As such, his book is not merely a collection of delicious cocktail recipes but also a rundown of the wildly outdated and wacky liquor laws still on the books today in America. (Did you know that in Utah, cocktails must be mixed behind a barrier called the “Zion curtain” that separates the patrons of the bar from the bartender and blocks the view of drinks being mixed and poured?) If you’re looking for a fun gift for the cocktail lovers in your life, this book would be a great option, especially paired with a bottle of booze.

How To Make a Hot Toddy

To make a hot toddy, you’ll need bourbon (which is a type of whiskey), honey, lemons, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, and whole cloves. Simply combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey in a mug and add boiling water (use more or less water depending on how strong you’d like your hot toddy to be). Stir until the honey is dissolved and the ingredients are well combined, 10 to 15 seconds. Garnish with the cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise pod. Sip, warm up, and enjoy.

You May Also Like

Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is a classic and warming whiskey cocktail.

Servings: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Boiling water, to fill a mug (6 to 8 oz)
  • Cinnamon stick for garnish
  • 3 to 4 cloves for garnish
  • 1 star anise pod for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey in a mug and add the boiling water (use more or less, depending on how strong you'd like the drink to be). Stir until the honey is dissolved and the ingredients are well combined, 10 to 15 seconds. Garnish with the cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise pod.
  2. Note: When serving, I recommend warming up some heavy mugs by first filling them with boiling water. Once they’re nice and toasty, spill out the water and fill with the cocktail. This will help the drinks maintain their cozy warmth a bit longer.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Now this is excellent. Easy. Perfect for a gray, cold day. I can also see how it would cure about anything, too.

    • — Susan on January 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wonderful. Made with the spices that I had, prehistoric cinnamon stick and equally ancient cloves. Perfect drink for sipping on a cold wintry evening. Just added star anise pods, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks to my grocery list!

    • — Ty on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve got home-grown satsumas that are a bit tart this year (drought?), so I used those instead of lemon juice. What a delicious drink! Thank you for the recipe – I can’t wait to share this drink with my sisters.

    • — Maggie C on December 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • About that cinnamon stick: Lots of recipes call for them but they’re very expensive. I wouldn’t waste one on a hot toddy. Or do you reuse them? Thanks!

    • — Brianna on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Brianna, You can reuse them.

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2020
      • Reply
    • If you are in the United States, consider visiting a local ‘ethnic’ grocery stores that caters to a group that uses lots of spices in their cooking. Spices are usually much cheaper and even available in bulk in these places. I live in an urban area with Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Indian grocery stores. They all sell cinnamon sticks for a good price. I’ve even bought specialty spices like high-quality saffron and aleppo pepper at lower prices at these stores.

      Also, there are 2 types of cinnamon: you don’t need to buy the real, fancy type for this recipe. Cassia cinnamon or cinnamon from Saigon is cheaper then Ceylon/ Sri Lankan true cinnamon.

      • — LC on December 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • When we make Hot Toddies, we use Fireball whiskey, gives the drink a yummy cinnamon flavor!

    • — Jan on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • That sounds delicious!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
    • Same! Drinking one now. I didn’t add the honey because Fireball is already so sweet.

      • — Lesley K. on December 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn there is a typo in the paragraph starting ” To make a hot Toddy…” In the parentheses it should say “which IS a type of bourbon. Just thought you would want to know!!

    • — Sandy Moran on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Thank you, Sandy!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • I love a nice hot toddy! Your grandmother was right, they cure so much. 😂 Some people use tea as well. What are your thoughts on this?

    • — Mary on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, love it with tea — that’s how my grandmother made it.

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
      • Do you substitute the brewed tea for the hot water?
        And last night, with snow covering my yard, I enjoyed mine in an insulated coffee cup. Kept it warm till the last sip!

        • — MEG MAYO on December 19, 2020
        • Reply
        • Yep 🙂

          • — Jenn on December 19, 2020
          • Reply
    • Love it especially with ginger tea. : )

      • — Amy on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! Huge fan from Salt Lake City here. The Zion Curtain is real and absolutely arcane, but it applies to restaurants only (where minors might witness the horrors of seeing a cocktail mixed!), not bars.

    As a drinker in Utah, I can’t wait to try this hot toddy recipe. Thank you, and happy holidays! 🙂

    • — Sue on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • So funny — hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.