on Dec 27, 2023, Updated Feb 29, 2024
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Let's all take precautions and pre-emptively bolster our immunity with a hot toddy, a warm cocktail to get us through the winter.
On a chilly night (especially a wet or snowy one), there is nothing more appealing than a warm drink. While hot chocolate or mulled cider is often the perfect answer, sometimes you want a drink that is also a little boozy. Enter the hot toddy, which is just what you want to snuggle up with inside, ideally in front of a roaring fire, with a Labrador at your feet.
I can’t help with the fire or the dog, but I can help with a recipe for a hot toddy or hot whiskey, as it’s known in Ireland. And if you’re looking for something sweet to serve with this drink, I think this Orange Cake would be perfect.
Table of Contents
Hot Toddy: A warm hot toddy with whisky, honey, and lemon makes a long cold winter feel much more bearable.Tweet This
Hot Toddy Ingredients
- Water – Heating the water is what makes it a hot toddy.
- Whiskey…or bourbon…or brandy, or rum – So many ways to go! Pick your favorite.
- Honey – Adds sweetness and smoothness.
- Lemon juice – Use fresh for the best flavor!
How to Make a Hot Toddy
- Heat water and add alcohol: Bring ¾ cup water to a simmer. Pour the whiskey or booze of your choice into a heatproof glass mug or glass.
- Add honey and lemon: Add 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste. Add about half a lemon’s worth of juice.
- Add water and stir: Pour in hot water. Stir until the honey has melted.
- Taste and garnish: Add more honey or lemon juice (or whiskey!) as desired. Garnish with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick (or apple slice, if desired).
- Serve: Drink!
Hot toddy is an old-fashioned term, to be sure, but a very contemporary feeling drink to me. The history of the drink is a bit unclear, but it seems to have originated in India while it was under British control in the early 17th century. The word toddy apparently comes from the Hindi word “taddy,” which meant beverage fermented from palm sap, and the English kind of took it and ran with it (which was not exactly uncharacteristic behavior).
It is also known as a Hot Whiskey in Ireland, and while it is often made with whiskey (of varying types), it can also be made with bourbon or even aged rum —always some sort of brown liquor. The booze is mixed with some spices and hot water, honey, and usually some lemon, and it’s the kind of thing that is most often drunk on a wet, cold night when one is trying to get better from — or ward off — some cold symptoms.
Does it work? I’m a believer. I also like bourbon. The honey is the kicker, as it coats the throat, reducing soreness and that annoying cough-tickle. In this hot toddy recipe, a bit of lemon juice and a slice or two of lemon brighten things up — vitamin C, don’cha know. And if you stick with just one and don’t overdo it, it can also help you sleep a bit better if you are fighting a cold.
I say it is better to take precautions and pre-emptively bolster one’s immunity with a hot toddy. No, it won’t prevent the really bad things, but wouldn’t we all like to feel a little warm and cozy and relaxed as we wait for spring to finally arrive?
If you pour a shot of 80-proof whiskey according to the recipe, your Hot Toddy should weigh in around 9% alcohol by volume. That falls between beer and wine, so it’s not a very stiff cocktail. However, if you pour a little extra whiskey, it will be a bit stronger.
What to Serve With Hot Toddy
More Cocktail Recipes
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- Sparkling Mint Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
- Cucumber Mint Gin and Tonic
- Sparkling Rosé Berry Sangria
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- ½ cup water
- 1 ½ ounces whiskey or bourbon or brandy or rum
- 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
- 2 to 3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Cinnamon stick
- Lemon slice
- Sliced apple (optional)
- In a teapot, a small pot, or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container, bring the water to a simmer.
- Pour the whiskey or booze of your choice into a heatproof glass or mug, along with the honey and lemon juice. Pour in the hot water. Stir until the honey has melted, and taste. Add more honey or lemon juice (or whiskey!) as desired).
- Garnish with the cinnamon stick, lemon, and apple, or not. Sip away.