Let’s warm up with some hot toddies! They could not be easier to make. For this classic cocktail, you’ll just need hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon. Unlike mulled wine, wassail or warm cider, hot toddies are light and hydrating rather than overwhelmingly sweet.
Hot toddies are lovely slow sippers or night caps. Mara says they’re perfect for playing cards with the family. You could offer a hot toddy bar at your holiday party this year. I love that idea!
How to Make the Best Hot Toddy
The secret to making the best hot toddy is simple—just tinker with the amount of lemon juice and honey until it suits your taste buds. I’ve provided some guidelines in the recipe below. I think you’ll be surprised by how much an extra teaspoon of lemon juice or honey changes the flavor.
If you order a hot toddy at a bar, you’ll probably receive a whiskey drink. Any good whiskey will do—I’ve enjoyed hot toddies made with Bulleit Rye, Jameson, and Wiser’s.
If you prefer, you can make your hot toddy with dark rum or brandy. You’ll find more ways to change up the drink in my recipe notes.
Watch How to Make Hot Toddies
Hot Toddies for Coughs & Colds
Hot toddies are reported to help reduce cold symptoms, although you really don’t want to overdo it on the whiskey. Your body needs to heal, and the simple combination of warm water, honey and lemon combined can work wonders.
Alcohol doesn’t mix well with over-the-counter and prescription medications. So, no hot toddies for you if you’re taking medicine! Nurse yourself back to health with everything but the whiskey.
More Cocktails to Love
For another warming whiskey drink, make my Irish Coffee recipe! If you’re looking for more holiday-friendly whiskey drinks, don’t miss my Maple New York Sour or Cinnamon-Maple Whiskey Sour.
Here are a few more of my favorite classic cocktails: Moscow Mules, French 75’s, Best Red Sangria, Mimosas, and Fresh Margaritas.
Please let me know how this hot toddy recipe turns out for you in the comments! I really love hearing from you, and your feedback is so important to me.
Classic Hot Toddy
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Scottish
Warm up with this classic hot toddy cocktail recipe! Hot toddies are so easy to make. You’ll just need hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon. Recipe yields 1 cocktail.
- ¾ cup water
- 1 ½ ounces whiskey
- 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 lemon round
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional, for garnish)
- In a teapot or saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a mug.
- Add the whiskey, 2 teaspoons honey and 2 teaspoon lemon juice. Stir until the honey has disappeared into the hot water. Taste, and add 1 teaspoon honey for more sweetness, and/or 1 teaspoon more lemon juice for more zing.
- Garnish with a lemon round and cinnamon stick (if using). Enjoy!
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Change it up: Instead of whiskey, use brandy or dark/spiced rum. For extra flavor, you could also steep 1 tea bag (green or black tea) in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes, or add a splash of apple cider. Change up the garnishes by adding a slice of apple or fresh peeled ginger, whole cloves or anise.
Recommended equipment: I love my glass mugs (shown) from Crate and Barrel, and this stainless steel jigger is great for measuring liquor. (Those are affiliate links.)
▸ Nutrition Information
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.