How To Make A Hot Toddy With Whiskey, Rum Or Mezcal

Now that the sun is setting so early that you want to put your pj’s on at 4 pm and the weather is so cold that not even watching Beckham on Netflix can heat you up enough, it’s time to break out the recipe for a good old fashioned hot toddy.

What is a Hot Toddy?

A hot toddy is a drink made of liquor, water, lemon, honey and spices. It is served hot, usually on a cold or wet night, and has been used to relieve cold or flu symptoms. While there’s no scientific evidence that hot booze can clear up the common cold, having this toasty beverage when you’re under the weather will most likely make you feel better! But you don’t need to wait until you’re sick to mix up a hot toddy. Most people use whiskey, bourbon or brandy but you can experiment with using different liquors and spices. Customize your hot toddy depending on your preferences or mood.

How to Make a Hot Toddy

To make a hot toddy, you just need a few simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand including lemon, honey and some brown liquor. Some popular liquor choices for a hot toddy are Maker’s Mark, Monkey Shoulder or Woodford Reserve. Most recently, I used Sourland Mountain Straight Bourbon Whiskey in my hot toddy and it had delicious, warming notes of vanilla, clover, star anise and black pepper.


1 1/2 oz. whiskey or bourbon

1 cup hot water

1 tbsp honey

1/2 oz. lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

Cinnamon stick, lemon wedge or star anise for garnish


Combine all of the ingredients together in a mug and garnish to your liking. Sip and enjoy!

Variations on a Classic

There are plenty of ways to switch up your hot toddy and one of them is by trying a different liquor. You can experiment with the flavors of aged rum, brandy or even the smoky taste of mezcal. Some people even add saké along with their whiskey to this drink.

You can also change up the spices in your hot toddy. Try adding a few cloves, or my favorite, a slice of raw ginger, for a bold taste. You can even try using maple syrup in place of the honey.

If this is your first time having a hot toddy, you’ll immediately notice the warming, spicy flavor upon your first sip. Whether you’re drinking it to relieve cold symptoms or just to warm up on a cold night, you can’t go wrong with this drink. Experiment to find the variation you like best. Spring may be far away but there’s plenty to feel warm and toasty about with a log on the fireplace and a hot toddy in hand.

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