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Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

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Here's a delicious, reliable hot toddy recipe you can adjust and accessorize as you see fit. However you prefer it, enjoy National Hot Toddy Day!


  • 2 Ounces Jack Daniels
  • 1 clove
  • 1 Teaspoon honey
  • 4 -6 ounces piping-hot water (based on desired strength)
  • ½ Teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 strip of lemon peel


Place all the ingredients, save the water and brown sugar, into a glass. Gently press the cardamom. Add water and sugar to taste.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving171

Folate equivalent (total)0.5µg0.1%

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy cocktail is the grandfather of hot drinks. Equally at home in a snowbound mountain cabin as it is on an acclaimed cocktail menu, the classic Hot Toddy has one job that it takes quite seriously: warming you up.

The Toddy’s origins are in the mid-18th century, and the drink traditionally comprises a spirit, sugar and hot water, perhaps with a lemon peel or assorted spices. In Ireland, they used Irish whiskey. In Scotland, they used scotch. In the United States, well, they used whatever was on hand—often brandy or rum. Today, whiskey usually wins out. But you may find the cocktail laced with a number of different spirits depending on where you source it, given the Toddy’s customizable nature.

A good Toddy has been known to jump-start mornings, cure colds and play furnace on a frigid evening. Many people believe that its first use was as a medicinal aid. Liquor was known to numb pain, while citrus and sugar (or honey) could soothe a sore throat. Take one sip of the hot, comforting cocktail and it’s easy to see how it has stood the test of time. Sure, the prevalence of central heating and modern medicine may be more effective than a warm drink, but you still can’t deny the life-giving power of a Hot Toddy.

This recipe comes from San Francisco bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout and features whiskey, hot water, demerara sugar and a clove-studded lemon peel. You can use any kind of whiskey you like, and the end result will be delicious. Fortunately, the Toddy is very easy to make. Grab your favorite mug, and heat it with some boiling water, similar to how you chill a Martini glass. After a minute or two, dump the water, and build your drink in the same mug by combining your spirit with sugar and more hot water. All that’s left to do now is throw another log on the fire and enjoy the warm whiskey embrace.

The Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While the Hot Toddy often acts as a blank canvas for whatever variety of boozy ingredients its creator feels like customizing it with, the basic recipe is still a surefire classic to start experimenting with warm cocktails.

It’s a flexible rubric. Maker’s Mark and Jameson are popular choices, but they’re far from your only option. Try it with rye, Bourbon, rum, or the brown spirit of your choosing. The best whiskey to use in a hot toddy is the one you have on hand.

Do hot toddies work? Will they cure a sore throat, sinus infection or winter cold? While we don’t profess to be experts in the medicinal benefits of honey, lemon and brown liquor, this throwback remedy is known to provide relief when cold days leave you feeling a bit under the weather.

  • 1½ ounce brown liquor such as brandy, whiskey or rum
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and star anise, for garnish (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug. If desired, garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick or star anise.


Just what the doctor ordered for my sore throat! I used my favorite bourbon, Wild Turkey 101. Delicious and soothing.

My wife is tired of me complaining about the cold I got from the kids, so she mentioned a hot whiskey drink to shut me up and here we are. Used Russell's Reserve and an extra shot of citrus. Feel so good I decided to leave a review. Happy holidays to all.

have in the house. Makers Mark whiskey. Gotta add extra honey to mask the taste of the whiskey but I'm sure it will do the trick.

It was recommended to me that I have a hot toddy to help my cold. I was afraid that the concoction would be too medicinal. I was delighted that it was, in fact, quite flavorful and pleasant.

I've been making almost the same thing for years now but I use a good dark rum like El Dorado 12y (

$32) and make it a little stronger: 1/4 c (4tbsp) dark rum Juice from 1/4 lemon you can also use lime for a more tropical taste 1 tbsp honey boiling water to fill the rest of the mug. The sweetness and vanilla of the dark rum are fantastic for this and much quicker and easier than simmering spices for 20m (which would be fine if I was going to be serving people, but a bit much if I just want one on a random cold Tuesday evening)

I substituted bourbon for the lemon and honey. I also substituted bourbon hot water. Fantastic! Would make again.

I'm a Southern Comfort gal myself. It's less harsh than other liquor, I feel due to its spices doesn't need embellishment with cinnamon. Perfect for cough when unwell and helps me sleep!

I have only tried a sip of my friend's hot toddy before and I thought it was gross, but this recipe is good! I used Jim Beam Honey flavored bourbon and REAL fresh lemon juice. I only used 1/2 TBSP of honey since the liquor is already sweet. I added in a coffee mug's worth of hot water, a cinnamon stick and a dash of ground cloves. Perfecto!

ps. the cinnamon and clove sound nice! I forgot to mention that I use a bag of herbal lemon tea. Just because I like the taste. Honey, lemon juice and fresh ginger are proven natural remedies for cough and sore throat. Like I said the liquor just makes it grown-up and will let you sleep like a baby.

I add fresh ginger and fresh lemon juice. That with the honey really soothes the throat and calms a cough. The booze makes you sleep. A very nice winter cold remedy.

Made this last night for my girlfriend, with ingredients on hand. Jameson whiskey, honey, orange juice and water. Wrapped her in blankets and she slept like she was in hibernation. I think this will be a staple for the coming cold and flu season!

This drink is completely open to interpretation and works equally well with brandy, rum or any whiskey. Sure takes the chill off of cold winter night. I like mine with a cinnamon stick or a clove. It's particularly soothing to sip when you've got a cold and tucked into bed all snuggly and warm. ZZZzzzz. out like a light!

So I tried this my own way with what I had at my disposal. Car is in the shop and couldn't make it to the store. I'm drinking this to try and help with the sick. Anyways here goes 2oz Jameson whiskey About 10oz hot water 1.5ish oz of Starbucks gingerbread syrup And a package of 1000mg orange flavored vitamin c powder Sounds a bit weird but it's not terrible and if it helps with this sick I've had Iɽ do it again in a heartbeat. Probably not something Iɽ drink on the regular but I'm not much of a hot beverage guy anyways. I could see this being made cold as well with the honey and lemon and such and being a nice by the pool drink

I use a herbal lemon tea with an ounce of Jameson Irish whiskey, one teaspoon of pure all natural honey, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon in a 16 ounce coffee mug with only 14 ounces of hot water.

I used it for sore throat. We will see if it helps.

This is a good basic recipe. You can dress it up as you like. I use Rum, (amber or dark is best). You can also throw in a cinnamon stick, a clove, and/or a lemon slice. A pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon won't hurt. Experiment until you can't read the label on the rum bottle.

I don't think this needs to be made with an expensive whiskey, which makes it a great cheap bar drink! I use Bullet. Also a Meyer lemon really shines here and gives it a whole new delicious dimension. Agave nectar works well if you don't like honey. And of course, make it two ounces of whiskey rather than just one.

Remember to heat the glass. Plus I recommend using only lemon or orange twist, no juice. The hot water can be tea -nice twist )

My grandmother always used irish whiskey and added a whole clove.

I have an awful cold and this drink is helping to sooth my sore throat. I'm not a big fan of bourbon and honey, so I didn't think itɽ be very tasty, but it is delicious!

This is identical to my recipe, although I use 2 jiggers of bourbon. I highly recommend adding a few dashes of Bitters, as well. Angostura has healing powers!

Fabulous! I, too, have a terrible cold and this warm libation was definitely what my throat needed. So soothing, and definitely helps one to get off to sleep. Cheers!

Delicious! An extra squeeze of lemon added a nice bite.

Hubby came home early from work with a horrible cold and I made this for him. He loved it and said he may be sick more often if this is how I take care of him.

Having a craving for something honey flavoured in a household without huge stocks of much, I made this up with rum (Bundaberg Rum) instead of bourbon, being the only dark spirit in the house, and found the sweetness of the rum went quite well with it.

What does a hot toddy cure?

Disclaimer: I&rsquom not a doctor.

I wish I was some kind of doctor. A famous surgeon maybe. The kind that TV shows are based on. But I&rsquom deathly afraid of blood. And needles. I&rsquom just a girl who&rsquos been allergic to medicine all her life so I&rsquove tried my fair share of herbal and alternative medicine.

The hot toddy is one of them. While there&rsquos no real cure for the common cold, the whiskey, honey and lemon in a hot toddy offer great relief with the sniffles. Think of it as a bowl of chicken noodle soup. But whiskey.

Not a fan of whiskey? These other alcohol-free drinks work wonders for me too.

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Master the Classic Hot Cocktails

Whether or not you subscribe to the notion of seasonal drinking, it’s hard to deny that a select few cocktails irrevocably belong to winter. In the canon of classics, these hearty, hot drinks—Irish Coffee, Tom & Jerry, Hot Toddy—occupy a small niche, but they’re no less prone to the obsessions of perfection-seeking bartenders.

Whether it’s a matter of nailing the temperature, the glassware or the technique, these tried-and-true recipes, drawn from the bartenders who have fixated on them season after season, have what it takes to keep you warm this winter.

The Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee No. 2 [Recipe] and Dale DeGroff's Café Brûlot [Recipe].
The Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee No. 2

This “workshopped” version of The Dead Rabbit’s Irish Coffee varies only slightly from the original version served at the bar, showcasing a light-bodied whiskey and slightly richer sugar syrup than previously used. The glassware is key: Dead Rabbit uses a six-ounce tulip-shaped glass to showcase the drink.

Café Brûlot

This “incendiary coffee” was first served at New Orleans’s Antoine’s restaurant in the 1880s it was inspired by pirate Jean Lafitte’s streetside drink-making theatrics, used to distract his audience while his cohorts picked their pockets. A fiery blend of brandy, kirshwasser eau-de-vie, clove-studded orange peel and coffee, Café Brûlot has remained a New Orleans tableside dessert staple and a favorite of Dale DeGroff, who introduced the the drink while head bartender at New York’s Rainbow Room in the 1990s.

David Wondrich’s Tom & Jerry [Recipe] and Andrew Volk's Hot Toddy [Recipe].
David Wondrich’s Tom & Jerry

“It’s really not good for you,” says David Wondrich of the excessively rich 19th-century drink known as the Tom & Jerry. “But it’s just so freaking delicious.” This recipe makes a lot of Tom & Jerries—at least 50, although you might need more milk to get there. Wondrich notes that any leftovers can easily be turned into eggnog by mixing two parts batter with two parts milk and one or two parts booze, plus grated nutmeg, then bottle and refrigerate.

Andrew Volk's Hot Toddy

“Hot Toddies are those drinks you get when you’re cold or when you have a cold,” says Andrew Volk. “You want something strong, you want something hot, you want something a little bit spicy.”

His recipe, which he offers in both bourbon- and brandy-based iterations, ticks all the boxes.

What Is a Hot Toddy?

Before we get into the historical origins of the drink, let’s look at what a hot toddy (or sometimes Tottie) is. A toddy is a drink made typically with a spirit base, water, some type of sugar, and spices. In its simplest form today, a hot toddy is usually a mixture of whiskey, cinnamon, hot water, honey, and lemon.

Another modern, canonical iteration features tea as the spice (or in addition to the spice). What we’ll see is that, like all great cocktails, the base recipe is just a jumping-off point for experimentation and advances in flavor profile over time.

Hot Toddy Recipes: 6 Variations on the Classic Holiday Cocktail

These days, enjoying a cocktail with friends can mean meeting outdoors. Want something that will warm everyone up as the evenings turn colder? Hot toddies to the rescue!

Hot toddies are traditionally made with whiskey or brandy, lemon, honey and hot water or tea. You can add different garnishes that will affect the flavor, such as apple slices, lemon wheels, star anise, cloves, a couple of fresh cranberries or cinnamon sticks.

Here is our basic hot toddy recipe, with several variations to suit your taste buds:

Traditional Hot Toddy: In a mug or glass, stir together 2 oz. of whiskey, 1 tsp. of honey and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice. Stir in 4 oz. of hot water. Garnish as desired.

Hot Brandy: Substitute brandy for whiskey.

Chai Toddy: Substitute chai tea for hot water.

Apple Cider Toddy: Skip the honey and substitute hot cider for water.

Ginger Hot Toddy: Add a slice of fresh ginger with the brandy.

Fiery Cinnamon Toddy: Substitute cinnamon whiskey for regular.

For a more indulgent traditional hot cocktail, try Hot Buttered Rum: Place 1 tsp. brown sugar in a cup. Add 4 oz. hot water. Stir in 2 oz. dark rum. Top with a pat of butter. Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

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