A friend of mine DM’d me on Instagram and asked me if I had a good recipe for a Classic Hot Toddy. I didn’t have one on the blog- yet- but figured I should. Of course, every recipe has to be tested and re-tested to ensure maximum satisfaction, so I had to do some research before I put it up.
I’ll be real with you. I’m a little tipsy right now.
A classic Hot Toddy contains whiskey. Although the original Hot Toddy supposedly came from Scotland, your girl isn’t a fan of scotch. I am, however, a fan of Jameson. So, I figured, “Why not use Irish whiskey?” Close enough.
What is a classic Hot Toddy? Where is it from?
Listen, we all know that England had a bad habit of colonizing the hell out of the rest of the world. My homeland is the product of some patriots telling King George that he and his taxes could kick rocks. The name “Toddy” is likely from the Indian subcontinent. No matter, the drink made its way to the States, I made my way to tha licka sto’, and now this Classic Hot Toddy is making its way to you.
The liquor to use in the classic version is whiskey. You can use bourbon, scotch, rye, or even brandy if you want to switch things up. Lemon juice and a sweetener of some kind is a must; honey is my preferred choice. Tea or water can be used as the primary liquid. The spices here are also interchangeable. I prefer cinnamon and star anise, but, sometimes, I chuck a few cloves, or allspice, into my Toddies.
Hot Toddies are, supposedly, remarkable cures for colds, coughs, or even the flu. I’m no physician, so I won’t speak to the validity of those claims. However, I know that with the amount of whiskey I put in mine, I feel right as rain when I’m done drinking it.
Don’t judge me.
What spices does a classic Hot Toddy have?
Start your Toddy with a spice tea.
“Tea” is a general term for a drinking liquid with herbs or spices steeped in a liquid; water in this case. After placing cold water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, and lemon ends into a small saucepan, bring the water up to a rolling boil. The lemon ends are from the shells of the lemons I juiced for the Toddy. Once the water boils for a minute, or two, turn the heat off and allow the spices to steep in the water. This cools the water slightly, so I don’t burn the crap outta my mouth.
After steeping the spices in the water for 5 minutes, strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the spices.
How is a Hot Toddy sweetened?
Like I said before, I love the taste of honey in my hot Toddy. Add maple syrup for a Canadian-style Toddy. Use Canadian whiskey while you’re at it.
Add your preferred amount of honey. I like my Hot Toddy on the sweeter side so I add a couple of tablespoons of the sweet stuff.
Add the lemon juice to each Hot Toddy glass. That’s a whole lemon for two mugs.
Follow with the whiskey and the hot tea you made earlier, then stir to combine the liquids using either a cinnamon stick or a spoon.
Can I make this drink ahead?
You can make the spice tea for this classic Hot Toddy up to a month ahead and store it in a mason jar in the fridge. When you’re feeling under the weather or need a warm drink, reheat the tea in a microwave. Later, add the lemon juice, whiskey, and sweeten to taste.
A kiddies hot Toddy is east to make, too. Just omit the whiskey.
I’m all about this Classic Hot Toddy right now. It warms you from the inside out, and its smooth taste soothes the spirit, which, those of us here in the States, absolutely need. It’s also an excellent nightcap for these coming winter nights and a must for winter gatherings.
Need more warm drinks?
If you are looking to add to your warm drinks collection, check out these other recipes:
Pin the recipe to your drinks boards, and don’t forget to share this steaming libation with your friends and family!
Classic Hot Toddy
- 2 1/2 cups (591 milliliters) water
- 3 3" cinnamon sticks plus more for garnish
- 2 star anise
- 1" piece ginger sliced in 1/4-inch thick coins
- 1 medium lemon juiced, rinds reserved
- 4 tablespoons (84 grams) honey plus more to taste
- 3 ounces (89 milliliters) Irish whiskey
Make the Spice Tea
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, and lemon rinds to a rolling boil.
- Once the water has boiled for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the spices to steep in the water for 5 minutes.
- Remove the spices from the water using a fine mesh sieve. Discard the spices.
Make the Hot Toddy
- Add your preferred amount of honey two large (12-ounces or larger), heat-safe mugs.
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 1/2 ounces of the whiskey, and 1 1/4 cups of the hot water into each mug.Stir to combine the liquids using a cinnamon stick or a spoon.
- Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick, if desired.Enjoy responsibly and while hot.
- Make the spice tea as instructed and allow it to cool completely after steeping.
- Transfer the tea to a mason jar and store it in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- To use: reheat the tea in the microwave until steaming.
- Add the lemon juice, whiskey, and honey to a mug per the recipe and top with the tea.
Kid-Friendly Hot Toddy:
- Omit the Irish whiskey in the recipe.
- All other ingredients remain the same.