How to Make Hot Toddy: 5 Simple Ingredients, Multiple Benefits

10 mins read
Hot Toddy
By: Chase Hoffman/Flickr @All Rights Reserved

This article will teach you how to make hot toddy.

how to make Hot toddy
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A hot toddy is an all-time classic delicious drink blended with the sweetness of honey, tanginess of lemon, and the starbase – whiskey.

Not only are hot toddies great in taste, but they also have many soothing health benefits – thanks to all the ingredients that go into the making of a classic hot toddy.

This warm cocktail is perfect to have in wintery evenings. A delicious rescue to a cold night or a thundering rain is disguised into this warm drink fused with flavorful ingredients.


The hot toddy recipe hails from the Scottish land, believed to be originated way back in the eighteenth century. Apart from the health benefits and taste, the drink holds together Christmas festivities and is considered a wholesome, warm compliment during New year celebrations.

In Ireland, a hot toddy is referred to as simply hot whiskey. It also has an alternative that replaces whiskey with dense, full of depth – rum. The rum-based toddy is known by the name ‘Grog.’

Under the vast categories of drinks, hot toddy makes its way towards being a Nightcap. As the name suggests, Nightcap is the drinks you have before retiring for the day or ending a thorough festive celebration in the evening.

How to Make Hot Toddy?

Let us now learn how to make hot toddy easily?

With many more great new recipes of this drink coming up, experiments and variations give rise to drinks that do taste splendid. But the fact remains that nothing can ever replace the classic taste of the original recipe.

While the first sip brings a burst of flavorful newness to the taste palette, the last sip from the bottom of your mug makes sure to satisfy you with the soothing sense that you desire.


Honey: 1 tsp

Honey is the ingredient that adds a subtle sweetness to your hot toddy. It is often replaced with sugar as well. Another healthier replacement of general sugar is Demerara sugar, which has a beautiful crystal brown hue and the best feature – it has that crunchy caramel flavor.

Whiskey: 1 1/2 ounces

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Whiskey is one of the essential ingredients to this drink – more like what a backbone is to us. The type of whiskey to choose largely depends upon you.

But, the majority of the people prefer and suggest bourbon to be the one, or sometimes a classic Irish whisky. Bourbon is a whiskey that patiently ages in barrels to let the distilled liquor gain its identical flavour.

Lemon: 1-2 slices

The thought behind adding in an optimal quantity of lemon content is to create a counterpoint to the stark whisky and simultaneously balance the sugar. Instead of the lemon slice, you can also squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

Boiled water

As the name of this drink suggests – it’s hot. That is achieved by adding in perfectly boiled water, one of the simplest things to do.

The quantity of the boiled water depends upon how strong or light you want the entire drink to be. Generally, it is suggested that you add about 2 ounces of warm water.


Cinnamon sticks
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Hot toddy gets its striking flavors with the presence of different spices, which along with their taste, are also good for a sore throat.

Further research has also found that cinnamon stick is known to minimize the deadly risk of heart diseases.


Take about 3-4 whole cloves.

Cinnamon stick

1 cinnamon stick will be sufficient to do its magic.


Make sure to use at least 1 pinch of nutmeg which has been grounded finely.

How to Make Hot Toddy: The classic recipe

After gathering the needed quantity of the ingredients, it’s time to start putting these together to make toddy. Here’s the full recipe of the perfect drink for wintery weather:

Step 1

In a mug, add in the bourbon or whichever whisky you have chosen. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice into the bourbon.

Step 2

To the mix of bourbon and lemon, add honey, and get your boiled water ready as well.

Step 3

Pour the boiled water into the mug. Add in as much or as little water you desire in your drink.

Step 4

Gently but thoroughly stir the drink for about 15-20 seconds. Continue to stir it till the ingredients have combined properly – to find out if they have, check whether the honey has blended in seamlessly with the water or not.

Make sure that you stir until the honey blends in and does not settle at the bottom.

Step 5

Finally, add in the spices – cinnamon stick, cloves, and grounded nutmeg into the drink as garnishing.

Yay, your delicious hot toddy is ready – sip and enjoy.

How to Make Hot Toddy: Substitutions

For whisky

Instead of bourbon, whisky choices can range largely. Typical bars substitute bourbon with other good whiskies. Some of them are Wiser’s, Jameson, Bulleit, and Rye.

The taste is so versatile that it accepts many different types of whisky. Traditionally, Scotch and a good old Irish whisky work wonder too.

Alternatively, you can also use Canadian-based Fireball whiskey. This is a whiskey with blended sweeteners and strong cinnamon flavorings.

For lemon juice

While the lemon adds a beautiful sourness and tang to the drink, it can be substituted with Meyer lemon, grapefruit, or some zesty lemon peel.

Lemon and honey
Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

For honey

The dense flavor of honey has its features, but other choices such as agave nectar, brown sugar, and similar sweeteners can be used.


The classic toddy has a distinct flavor of its own, but different ingredients are a great way to experiment and check whether the modified drink caters to your taste buds.

  1. Toddy with tea – The top three teas to try the original recipe is chamomile, black and hot ginger tea. The combinations work so effortlessly well, but there has to be a winner, and that’s the black tea. Black tea tastes amazing, with the liquor of your choice being rum – not your basic evening hot tea.
  2. Star anise – Of the three spices used to enhance the flavor of this recipe, star anise tastes great and exceptionally delightful when experimented with the tea toddy.
  3. Apple cider vinegar – The original recipe instructs you to add hot water, but you will be replaced with the sweet, acidy apple cider in this variation. Its crispness boosts the overall flavor of the drink.
  4. Gin – Considered to be the most aromatic version of toddy, this variation includes soothing gin. Pour in hot water onto the gin, and you will see the magic. Brandy can be another option.
  5. Ginger – Ginger syrup has been used by people following the traditional recipe, but adding ginger liqueurs is the way to go. It enhances the darkness of the flavor of classic toddy with the added tinge of bourbon.
  6. Non-alcoholic – In general language referred to as ‘Hot not toddy,’ this recipe is ideal for people cutting down on alcohol or simply trying to mix-match flavors. Instead of the whisky, pour in Earl Grey, green tea, or any orange spiced tea and garnish as usual with lemon and spices.
  7. Maple syrup – Syrups that fall under the same lines of honey can be used to substitute for the same. The sweetness of maple syrup is surely different than that of honey, but the sweetness compliments the spicy tang of the toddy.

How to Make Hot Toddy: The Exquisite Pumpkin Spice Hot toddy

Pumpkin spice hot toddy - a speciality
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Nothing screams winter louder than this combination of Pumpkin spice with a hot toddy. The combination is perfect for unwinding on a cold winter day and craving a warm mug of your favorites. Occasionally, it is also referred to as the classic Pumpkin pie toddy – yep, we hear the Christmas jingles.

The recipe for the same does not demand much modification from the original. All you have to do is pour in Pumpkin spice simple syrup instead of the sugar or honey. It is generally advised to pour in about 2-3 tablespoons of the pumpkin spice simple syrup.

Another addition to this recipe of hot toddies can be to add a few honey granules to the warm cocktail.

How do I prepare Pumpkin spice simple syrup?

Do not worry. We’ve got that covered too! To spice up your hot toddies, follow the recipe :

  1. In a saucepan, add in some water, and to this, put some honey granules, depending upon how sweet you want it to be. Keep the heat at medium.
  2. Keep stirring gently till the granules have dissolved seamlessly.
  3. Add in pumpkin and spices. Combine the different ingredients properly, make sure there are no lumps or settling of honey at the bottom.
  4. Let the saucepan and its content cool down.
  5. Transfer the mix into a container and refrigerate it overnight.

Tada, your Pumpkin spice simple syrup, is ready to be stirred in with hot toddy!

There are many more recipes that inculcate other ingredients, which are clear experimentations and twists of tastes.

No doubt, those cocktails are delicious and should be tried, but preferably after the original has been tasted thoroughly. The recipes do not vary much; merely the ingredients do.

4 Amazing health benefits of hot toddy

1. Soothes troubling throat

The honey present in hot toddies does justice to providing sweetness, but it also helps soothe a sore throat and every suffering that comes along with it. Honey is considered one of the best and all-time go-to options to help fix sore or dry throat.

Inflamed tonsils are observed to be calmed with the help of honey because of their naturally present antibacterial properties.

The honey’s thick consistency coats your throat with its layer and protects you from further irritation.

2. Splendid spices

The spices used in the making of hot toddy – cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg are known for having high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essentially those that help fight off or keep cell damage far from the bay.

The whole cloves are tiny pieces of spice with tons of nutritious values embedded in them – from antioxidants, antibacterial, improving liver health, and even regulating blood sugar.

Cinnamon, along with being an antioxidant, is also anti-inflammatory. It is known to minimize inflammations in your body. Not only that but cinnamon has also been known to help pre-diabetic patients to control their blood sugar levels.

3. Vitamin C

We read the word Vitamin and a juicy, citrusy lemon pops up in our heads. Lemons have long been known and proven to be a rich source of Vitamin C. Being a good source of Vitamin C, and lemon is then also a great source of some more of those amazing antioxidants.

Lemon in itself limits the possibility of catching the flu or having cold symptoms in the first place.

4. Peacefulness

Hot toddy has got a delightful taste, but what’s also really soothing is the warm steam on the brim of your steaming mug of toddy. It helps with clearing out a sick, blocked nose. Additionally, it calms you from within and helps you sleep better.

Overall, the ingredients work with one another to provide the most beneficial effect for your body and mind. For instance, when you replace the alcohol with tea and add in the ginger, you’ve got a soothing ginger tea that helps with cold and flu symptoms and helps control nausea. The most basic supplement you have always been advised to have is boiling water.

Of course, you do not wash down the literal boiling water, but you let the warm water slide down your throat and help with the irritation and coughing.

Something to be careful about

While the combination of all the spices with honey and lemon mixed in boiling water works wonders to help you fight off seasonal cold and cough, it is to be considered of utmost importance that when the body is trying to heal from any disbalance, it demands you to be well-hydrated.

A few sips of hot toddy is a great comfort drink when unwell, but too much of it may hinder the healing process. This is because alcohol is known to dehydrate you.

While the nutrition facts are there to help with some symptoms, you must be careful about the side effects of the others. Even if you drink the optimal quantity of a good hot mug of toddy, make sure you get a sufficient water intake afterward.

Lip-smacking pairings with a hot toddy

  1. Toddy tastes great when paired with a heavy traditional Haggis. This is Scotland’s traditional dish, which is a savory pudding. Many have not known or tried this pairing, but some consider this to be a hearty meal and suggest getting some buttered jacket potatoes on the side.
  2. Hot toddy goes well with a light, buttery pastry—one of the best combinations being the flaky pinwheels. You can either opt for creamy sweet pinwheels with raspberry jam and a generous dollop of cream cheese, or you can devour on a completely taste note of savory swiss and ham pinwheel. Both the combination are delicious enjoyment with a hot toddy, providing a striking contrast and balance of their own.
  3. Crusty buttered toasts with delicate preserves like fig or berry jams. Multigrain bread is highly recommended for the toasts.

Hot toddy, a heavy, warm drink, is usually enjoyed with lighter snacks that bend towards the sweeter side: sugary cookies, shortbreads, fresh-cut fruits, and berries or candied pears.

Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash

Photo by Adam Bartoszewicz on Unsplash

If you still mean to include savory snacks, you can go for crackers or light water biscuits topped with a softer cheese like Camembert.

How to Make Toddy: Final Words

A hot toddy is a coziness and blissful comfort compacted into one warmed mug on a winter evening. The original, ages-old way of making it is surely a great recipe to try, but one has got to try the other newer recipes too.

Whether you stick to the way the traditional houses or bars make it or go on your way to add in hot tea or dunking in a lemon peel itself for zesty taste tones, the one common part of it will be the comfort provided to you.

Pick your favorite most-liked quality whiskey, go for the Irish whiskey sitting in your cabinet waiting to be used or use a great shot of the dark rum. Next, blend in the soothing honey and lemon combo, garnish with the spices, and there you go! Hot toddy recipes are fairly easy to follow.

It’s not merely the next cocktail you chug down to get drunk – it is a complete experience of sheer relaxation. The hot toddy recipe does not demand much, just your dedication to making it and, of course, the ingredients.

A mugful serving of delight hot toddy when you are enjoying a chilly evening with your family or friends, toasting your cold feet and hands with the cozy warmth of the fire – what else do you need this winter?

Now that you know how to make hot toddy try the recipe this winter and let it wrap you in a comforting embrace of warmth.

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