Cheers to round two of cocktail week! Today, we’re warming up with hot toddies, which could not be easier to make. For this classic cocktail, you’ll just need hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon.
Hot toddies are lovely slow sippers (perfect for playing cards with the family, Mara says) or night caps. Unlike mulled wine, wassail or warm cider, which can be overwhelmingly sweet, hot toddies are light and hydrating.
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. Perhaps you can offer a hot toddy bar at your holiday party this year? I love that idea!
Hot toddies are reported to help reduce cold symptoms, although I have to recommend leaving the whiskey out if you’re nursing yourself back to good health. Warm water, honey and lemon combined can work wonders, and alcohol doesn’t mix well with many over-the-counter and prescription medications.
For more fun cocktail recipes, click here! If you’re looking specifically for more holiday-friendly whiskey drinks, don’t miss this stunner or my cinnamon-maple whiskey sour. I’ll be back tomorrow with everything you need to know about Moscow Mules.
Classic Hot Toddy
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail
- 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 (otional, 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.