Made with tea, whiskey (or brandy), honey, and lemon this old fashioned Hot Toddy Recipe is just what you need to make it through the winter. Perfect for chilly evenings and, yes, it does help alleviate cold symptoms!
We love to enjoy this drink with a simple cookie or two, like these molasses cookies.
What Is a Hot Toddy?
If you’ve never had a hot toddy before, this classic hot toddy recipe is a great introduction. Hot toddies are an easy, warm cocktail made with tea, dark liquor (such as whiskey or brandy), lemon, and honey.
Many of us grew up being told that a hot toddy was the cure to any cold and there is some truth to that (more on that below) but it’s also just a nice, cozy cocktail to enjoy during the cooler months. Unlike many other holiday cocktails like mulled wine and apple cider, hot toddies are actually refreshing instead of super sweet.
Hot Toddy Benefits
So, is there any truth in the tale of drinking a hot toddy for a cold? Actually, there is! Each of the ingredients in this recipe has one healing property or another.
- Brandy is a muscle relaxer and otherwise has an all-around warming effect that helps alleviate stuffiness.
- Honey helps to soothe a sore through.
- Lemon cuts through phlegm (perfect for breaking up a stubborn cough).
- Spices like cinnamon offer medicinal properties.
- Black tea has a lot of powerful antioxidants.
Hot Toddy Ingredients
Only a few ingredients are needed to make this warm cocktail.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Black tea bag: You can use a different type of tea if you wish.
- Liquor: We prefer whiskey or brandy, but any dark liquor will work.
- Honey: A natural sweetener that helps balance the other flavors.
- Lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed for best results.
- Cinnamon stick: For garnish and a warming spice flavor.
Want to play around with the flavors in your hot toddy? Here are a few suggestions.
- Switch up the liquor. Instead of whiskey, use brandy or a dark/spiced rum.
- Add some extra cinnamon. In lieu of the cinnamon stick, you can add in cinnamon whiskey like Catch Fire or Fireball.
- Use honey bourbon whiskey. Instead of adding honey, you can use honey bourbon whiskey from Jim Bean or Jack Daniels.
- Swap out the tea. The black tea can be easily replaced with green or chamomile tea.
- Add more flavor. For extra flavor, add a splash of apple cider (not apple cider vinegar.)
- Change up the garnishes. Apple slices, freshly peeled ginger, whole cloves, or anise all make great garnish options for this cocktail.
How to Make a Hot Toddy
This hot cocktail is so simple to make in just a couple minutes.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for complete details.)
- Steep the tea. Microwave water in a glass mug until it simmers. Steep the black tea in it for about 3 minutes. Discard the tea bag.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. Stir until the honey dissolves. Taste test and add more honey or lemon according to your desired taste.
- Garnish and enjoy. Garnish with a lemon round slice and a cinnamon stick.
Enjoy a hot toddy anytime you’re craving something warm on a chilly night, or when you’re fighting off a cold. Sometimes I like to pair this drink with a simple cookie or two, like these molasses cookies, or a slice of kentucky butter cake. A thick slice of homemade cinnamon swirl bread is also lovely!
More Winter Drinks:
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey (or brandy)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 lemon round slice (for garnish)
- 1 cinnamon stick (for garnish)
- Pour water into a glass mug and microwave until it simmers. Add the tea bag and steep for about 3 minutes; discard.
- Add the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. Stir until the honey has dissolved into the hot tea water.
- Taste, and add another teaspoon honey or to your desired sweetness, if necessary (or more lemon juice for additional zing.)
- Garnish with a lemon round slice and cinnamon stick. Enjoy!