Conquer cold and flu season in a deliciously boozy way with a proper Hot Toddy! This soothing, warm cocktail features hot water, honey, lemon, and your choice of liquor. It’s the perfect cold weather cocktail that also makes the coziest night cap!
Is there a cocktail more comforting than a hot toddy? I think not. Also referred to as a “hot whiskey” in Ireland, this warm cocktail is a tried and true classic! It’s been around forever and it’s not hard to see why. It’s got no frills – just water, liquor, honey and lemon juice. Sometimes, the classic cocktails really are the very best, and this is a shining example of just that.
Most notably, the hot toddy has been recognized as an illness cure-all. If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s said that a warm hot toddy is perfect for sipping on just before bed! The honey and lemon are always nice when you’re feeling sickish, and the liquor is said to help you sleep better. I’m no doctor, but I can definitely see the logic here!
You definitely don’t have to be sick to enjoy one of these whiskey cocktails. They’re great for sipping on when the weather is cold and you just want something warm, cozy, and spiked. They also make a fabulous night cap! Next time you want to snuggle up on the couch for movie night, consider a hot toddy instead of your usual glass of wine. You’ll love how comforting it is!
How to Make a Hot Toddy
This easy cocktail recipe comes together in just a few easy steps! Pour, stir, sip, and enjoy.
- Start with water. Divide hot water between two mugs.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the whiskey, lemon juice, and honey to each mug.
- Taste it. Conduct a quick taste test to see if it needs more lemon or honey.
- Garnish. Top off your mugs with lemon, cinnamon, star anise, or anything else your heart desires!
Hot Toddy Tips and Variations
Here are just a few ways you can customize your whiskey cocktail and make it the very best that it can be!
- Change the liquor. While whiskey is the most traditional liquor used to make a hot toddy, you can use bourbon or even rum if preferred.
- Use fresh lemon juice. If bottled lemon juice is all you have, it’ll work just fine. However, freshly squeezed lemon juice has the best flavor and natural acidity that makes a hot toddy so good.
- Swap the honey. If you don’t have any honey on hand (or you’re just not a fan), you can use maple syrup instead. If you do use honey, try to use a local organic honey for the best flavor. When it comes to maple syrup, pure maple syrup is preferred over the thick pancake syrup.
- Have fun with your garnishes. Just a few of the best hot toddy garnishes include citrus peel, apple slices, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, herb sprigs, cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise or crystalized ginger.
What whiskey is best for a hot toddy?
Really any whiskey will get the job done! You can even swap it for bourbon or rum. Just keep in mind that no matter what liquor you choose, it’s important to try to get a good quality or middle of the road bottle. A cocktail is only ever as good as the liquor you use to make it.
PRO TIP: If you have any leftover whiskey, use it to make an Irish coffee and thank me later!
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Get the Recipe: Hot Toddy Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 3 ounces whiskey, bourbon or rum
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces honey or maple syrup
- Garnish: citrus peel, apple slices, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, herb sprigs, cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise or crystalized ginger
- 2 mugs
- Divide the water between two mugs.
- Add 1/2 the whiskey, 1/2 the lemon juice and half the honey to a mug of water and stir. Repeat with the remaining whiskey, lemon and honey.
- Add more lemon or honey to taste.
- Garnish with lemon, cinnamon or any of your favorite hot toddy additions.