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Hot Toddy

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posted: 11/25/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

If you are looking for a cocktail to warm you from the inside out, look no further than the Hot Toddy. This delicious and extremely simple cocktail, is perfect for winter, when your throat has a tickle, or when you need to snuggle up by the fire.

Overhead photo of a Hot Toddy in a white mug with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice in the mug and around the mug

As the temperature drops, nothing warms you up like a hot cocktail. Apple cider and mulled wine are two hot commodities of the cooler season, and Hot Toddies have earned their place right up there with the best of them.

What is a Hot Toddy

Hot toddies are mixed drinks made with liquor and hot water, complemented by a sweetener, lemon, and sometimes spices. They are served hot and have been made popular because of their lightness and cozy, soothing qualities. These simple, easy-to-make whiskey cocktails are commonly enjoyed during chilly seasons or to help relieve the symptoms of a cold, including a cough and sore throat.

Many Hot Toddy recipes use whiskey or bourbon as the base spirit which is what I use. You could also use brandy, rum, or Irish whiskey if you aren’t a fan of the flavor of Bourbon. See more about the ingredients and variations of hot toddies below.

Overhead photo of two Hot Toddies in white mugs with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice in the mug and around the mug and a bowl of sugar

Hot Toddy Ingredients

The list of what’s in a hot toddy is pretty simple, which is part of what makes the cocktail so easy to make and enjoy. Here is what you will need:

  • Lemon. This cocktail starts with a fresh lemon slice. You could use lemon juice in a pinch or adjust the taste, but it is best when made with the real deal.
  • Sugar. Granulated sugar adds just enough sweetness to balance the tart lemon and the kick of bourbon. You could also use honey or for a vegan option, maple syrup.
  • Bourbon. The spirit really shines through in this drink. This being said, the best whiskey for Hot Toddy is one that you enjoy the flavor of. If you don’t like bourbon or whiskey, you could swap it out for dark rum, or brandy.
  • Boiling Water. Enjoying the drink while it’s hot is what makes it so enjoyable. Some Hot Toddy recipes use brewed tea instead of just water.
  • Cinnamon stick. Adds just enough spice without overpowering the other ingredients. While you may have ground cinnamon, using a whole cinnamon stick allows the flavor to infuse the other ingredients rather than float on top. It also makes a nice garnish.

How to Make a Hot Toddy

Here is a brief overview of how to make the best Hot Toddy. For the full measurements and recipe, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Start with your lemon. Place the cloves in the rind or pulp of the lemon to prevent them from floating. Place the lemon slice in the bottom of the mug.
  2. Add sugar. Top the lemon slice with sugar.
  3. Add the bourbon and water. Pour the bourbon and hot water into the mug over the lemon slice.
  4. Garnish. Stir to combine and add a cinnamon stick.
How to make a hot toddy image of liquor being poured into a white mug that has lemon in it with a lemon slice and another white mug in the background
How to make a hot toddy image of hot water being poured into a white mug with a lemon slice and a Hot Toddy in the background

Variations and Tips

  • Use a warm mug. A warm mug will help keep your hot cocktail hotter for longer. To heat up your mug, fill it with hot water and let sit for a minute. This is great to do while you gather your ingredients and slice the lemon. Dump out the water and build the drink in the warm mug as directed.
  • Add apple cider. This could add some extra flavor to the drink or even make it nonalcoholic by skipping the bourbon and replacing it with apple cider. Make sure the cider is hot to keep the drink warm.
  • Make it sweet. To sweeten your Hot Toddy, take your pick of sugar, honey, maple syrup, or even brown sugar.
Overhead photo of a Hot Toddy in a white mug with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice in the mug and around the mug

Other Cozy Cocktails

Cozy up by the fire or gather with loved ones with a cocktail in hand. Here are a few great cozy cocktails that will serve a few close friends or a whole crowd.

When you try my Hot Toddy Recipe or any of my other cocktails, let me know how they turn out. I love hearing from you!

Overhead photo of a Hot Toddy in a white mug with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice in the mug and around the mug
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Hot Toddy

Serves: 1 cocktail
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
If you are looking for a cocktail to warm you from the inside out, look no further than the Hot Toddy. This delicious and extremely simple cocktail, is perfect for winter, when your throat has a tickle, or when you need to snuggle up by the fire.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon slice
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 4 ounces boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • Push the cloves into the rind of the lemon slice and place it in the bottom of a mug. Top with sugar.
  • Pour the bourbon and the hot water over the lemon and sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Add the cinnamon stick and enjoy.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: cocktails
Overhead photo of a Hot Toddy in a white mug with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice in the mug and around the mug

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Hot Toddy

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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