Hot Toddy

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A hot toddy is a classic and warming whiskey cocktail.

Hot Toddy in a handled glass mug.

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 As such, his book is not merely a collection of delicious cocktail recipes but also a rundown of the wildly outdated and wacky liquor laws still on the books today in America.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.

Cover of the book \"Give Me Liberty and Give Me a Drink!\"

How To Make a Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy ingredients, including honey, bourbon, and lemon.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.

Hot Toddy in a handled glass mug.

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Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is a classic and warming whiskey cocktail.

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


  • 2 oz (¼ 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


  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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (1 servings)
  • Calories: 207
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • This looks so delicious and comforting. My fiancé is Scottish and loves a good Hot Toddy. I’ll have to try this recipe out myself! In Puerto Rico, we drink Coquito, a coconut cocktail with Caribbean rum.

    • — Stephanie A. on December 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • My name is Toddy I am glad he likes it. From Patillas.

      • — Toddy on May 12, 2024
      • Reply
  • I have to laugh. My friend and I are Utah natives and we were talking about the Zion Curtain when we were at a restaurant a week ago. I am pretty sure it only applies to restaurants and it’s to block kids from seeing the bar. Stupid law but they are making progress. I think there is a bill floating around to allow alcohol (wine & spirits?) in grocery stores. Currently you can only buy beer and other lower alcohol content beverages. Sucks on Sundays when I don’t have red wine and want to cook with it, the liquor store is closed. Cheers!

    • — Kerrie on October 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • The first time I had a hot toddy was when I was young and ill. My father made it. I only choked it down because he said it would make me feel better.
    This hot toddy is 180° opposite.
    It is delicious. A perfect balance of all of the ingredients. (I made mine with Kilbeggan Irish Whisky)
    Be sure to use the garnishes. (the Star Anise and Cinnomon stick can be used repeatedly)

    • — BlarneyTalker on October 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. Made this today as the day was gray, cold and raw. It was delicious! Absolutely loved it. The flavors all just blended perfectly. The only ingredient I did not have was the anise stars. Where can you purchase these? I will definitely be making this again.

    Cindy Farrell.

    • — Cindy Farrell on March 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! I’m able to find star anise in the spice aisle at my grocery store. If you can’t find them in your local supermarket, you could always order them online. I see several options on Amazon.

      • — Jenn on March 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. As always, I love your website & cookbooks. Have you everheard of a book called The Drunken Botanist? It’s an interesting book on the origins of liquors, cocktails, bitters, etc. And it has recipes. 🙂

    • — Mary on October 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, thanks for your nice words about the recipes and support of the cookbooks! No, I’ve never heard of that book but I’m intrigued — I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • — Jenn on October 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • A Hot Toddy cures everything. This is by far the best hot toddy recipe! We used Irish Whiskey (when we ran out of bourbon) and it was just as delicious.

  • Delicious! I made this when I was feeling under the weather, definitely soothed my throat and a great comfort. I have made this many times since

  • Excellent for those cold winter nights! For a sweet twist, substituted the bourbon with Southern Comfort.

  • These are great to have when a cold is coming on. The best part is after you have several of them you don’t care if the cold is coming on or not. Ha!

  • This is delish! I also spice it up and replace the hot water with hot tea when I feel fancy 😉

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • Amazing drink! Honestly the best thing you could wish for on a cold night. Personally, I like it with a bit more honey than the recipe calls for, but otherwise good proportions!

  • Made this hot toddy for an outdoor gathering in December in upstate New York. Just simmered the alcohol and spices inside then took a carafe of the alcohol and a electric hot water kettle outside. Everyone filled up their mug with portion of alcohol and hot water per preference.
    The hot toddy was perfect .

    • — Angela Schnuerch
    • Reply
  • Quick to prepare – the perfect warm drink on a cold and dreary day!

  • Delicious. We made a batch and shared with friends around an outdoor fire pit .
    I also printed the recipe and made gift baskets with ingredients for homebound friends to enjoy.

  • This is the best and easiest drink to make, so soothing on a chilly day or when I have a slight sore throat. Love that it calls for two full ounces of booze, too!

    • — Sandy Haechrel
    • Reply
  • I love a good warm drink when it’s cold outside. This drink was wonderful. I love Hot Toddy’s. I made this for my mom and she even loved it. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Nothing better than a hot Toddy in the winter! Great recipe

  • Just perfect for these cold snowy days. The star anise is so pretty too.

  • WARM & WONDERFUL! This was fabulous as all of Jenn’s recipes are. We enjoyed this in December around the holidays, and I plan to make it again soon. It is perfectly spiced, lemony and delicious by the fire with some appetizers with friends, or after dinner. Really a great recipe for a winter beverage! Thank you Jenn!!!!

  • Just perfect for these cold snowy days. The star anise is so pretty too.

    • — Maeve Mullally
    • Reply
    • Really enjoyed this recipe during the first huge storm of the season!! Subbed maple syrup for the vegan in the family and it was wonderful..added an unexpected complexity to the drink.

      • — Martha Calvinperez
      • Reply
  • I like the addition of the cloves and the star anise.

  • I have tried several hot toddy recipes and this one is my favorite! It comes out well every time. I’ve also received compliments from my friends on how delicious it is! Highly recommend.

  • What a welcome beverage to celebrate the cozy holidays!

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • Hi Brianna, You can reuse them.

    • 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.

  • When we make Hot Toddies, we use Fireball whiskey, gives the drink a yummy cinnamon flavor!

    • That sounds delicious!

    • Same! Drinking one now. I didn’t add the honey because Fireball is already so sweet.

  • 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!!

    • Thank you, Sandy!

  • 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?

    • Yes, love it with tea — that’s how my grandmother made it.

      • 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!

    • Love it especially with ginger tea. : )

  • 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! 🙂

    • So funny — hope you enjoy the recipe!

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