Apple Cider Hot Toddy

apple cider hot toddy

We are running out of time. Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Thank goodness I’m not in charge of the cooking. Maybe you are prepared. Perhaps you already have your menu planned, your ingredients purchased and your best stretchy pants washed and ready. I don’t know how you do it. I, for one, am still wearing my pajamas and wondering how I’m going to meet my work demands, drive five hours home and bake cranberry cornbread before the day is over. Somehow these things will all happen. They always do.

how to make a hot toddy

As cliché as it may sound, this holiday season I am trying to focus on what I do have (a sweet puppy dog, caring friends) rather than what I do not (a dishwasher, a life partner). Gratitude is never a bad idea, right? In keeping with that theme, I am not going to dwell on the three disappointing recipes that I made this weekend. None were worthy of your Thanksgiving table. Instead, I thought I’d share my go-to warm cocktail for cool weather, because maybe you have not yet determined your beverage situation for tomorrow.

hot toddy

This cocktail is everything that I think cocktails should be: simple, light and plenty sip-able. We’re basically talking about a hot toddy, made with tea, that is sweetened with a splash of real apple cider instead of honey. While nothing groundbreaking, the ingredients are somehow rather spectacular together, and the drink isn’t so heavy or sweet that it’ll spoil your appetite for mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Cheers to the holidays!

Apple Cider Hot Toddy
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
This cider-sweetened cocktail is light and warming, perfect for the holidays. The quality of ingredients goes a long way here, so be sure to use real, unfiltered apple cider (it should be murky). Locally produced cider tends to be fresher and contain fewer (if any) additives. Spiced cider is good, too.
  • 1 green tea or black tea bag (I like Tazo China Green Tips)
  • 1½ ounces rye whiskey or bourbon (I like Bulleit)
  • 1 ounce real apple cider
  • ½ small lemon
  • garnishes: thin, round slices of lemon, a cinnamon stick, and star anise
  1. Heat water to the boiling point and pour over the tea bag in a mug. Leave about an inch of room in your mug for the whiskey and cider. Let the tea steep for a few minutes, then discard the bag so the tea doesn't get bitter.
  2. Pour in the whiskey or bourbon and a hefty splash of apple cider (adjust these amounts to suit your tastes). Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and garnish with lemon slices, a cinnamon stick and a star anise. Sip up.
  • Amounts given above yield one cocktail.
  • Are you, too, experiencing an unseasonably warm holiday? For a similar, chilled drink, try whiskey with club soda, a splash of apple cider and a big squeeze of lemon.

P.s. If you are looking for a last-minute Thanksgiving dish, you might check out my collection of Thanksgiving recipes on facebook.


  1. says

    As you said, the work does always seem to get done. And if it doesn’t it will still be there tomorrow, to be quickly forgotten as it melds within another set of deadlines, where the experiences we share with one another are the memories we will remember. Thank you for becoming a friend this year, so excited for what’s to come for all of us in the future. Like sharing this cocktail with you!

  2. says

    I like what you said about gratitude. I’ve had similar thoughts of late, be grateful for what’s in my life now.

    This recipe is revolutionary! I love warm apple cider and hot toddies but somehow never thought of putting the two together. I’m glad you did! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. says

    Even though we don’t celebrate thanksgiving here, I think it’s never a bad idea to take a few moments to really think about what I’m grateful for. Cocktails like this being a prime example ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Sue in RI says

    This sounds delicious. I might even brave the pre-turkey day insanity at the market to get some cider (the only missing ingredient). And, although I am sorry for the disappointing recipes you tried this week, I am grateful that you screen them for us blog readers so that we are spared that particular disappointment.

    Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving and even more to be grateful for in the coming year.

    • says

      Thank you, Sue. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. I am very particular about the recipes I post; I would hate for a visitor to invest time and money into a recipe and end up disappointed. You can’t please everyone but I sure try!

  5. says

    Ahh! Hot toddies are the #1 best part of the holiday season. Please enjoy them for me (times two) since my drinking hiatus i.e. pregnancy has me sticking to the sparkling cider this year.

    • says

      Will do, Crystle. Hope you’re feeling well. If you want to switch things up, try “spiking” your tea with a splash of apple cider. Delicious.

  6. says

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, my American friend. And yes, gratitude is always a good idea (and having some stretchy pants at the ready). Simple, but effective. Hope you’re making it through all of the holiday madness with a big old smile on your face and some toasty bourbon goodness in your hand.

  7. Elizabeth A. says

    Yum! I do love me a hot toddy. Come to think of it, hot apple cider is pretty great too. Good thinking. Looks like I need to stock up on some whiskey this weekend.

  8. says

    Sounds way better than the gin and tonic with a splash of margarita mix my brother tried to serve me today. Haha happy Thanksgiving to you and Cookie!

    • says

      I actually really like using a delicate green tea for this cocktail. It ends up tasting more strongly of lemon and bourbon than tea. Black tea seems to be the more traditional choice. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy it.

  9. John says

    Can’t believe I’ve only just stumbled upon your website. I just happen to have a rye whiskey, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and lemon juice handy, too – no fresh lemons, unfortunately, but I’m looking forward to trying it tonight! Might make it with a chamomile herbal tea or lavender since I don’t want any caffeine this late.

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