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Recipe: Our Favorite Winter Hot Toddy Recipe

Cecilia Vollert on

Winter is coming (do people still say that?), and with the winter season comes cold winter weather. Whether you're in a cabin in the mountains or at home by the fire, you'll need a drink to warm you up. 

Here's our favorite hot toddy recipe to warm your spirits.... um, spirit.

Hot Toddies: A History

If you've enjoyed our Original Moscow Mule Recipe, you know that the history of a beverage can be a fascinating thing. Hot toddies are a traditional drink, dating back to Colonial times. While we tend to thank Europe for this classic cocktail, it's likely that toddies originated in British-occupied India. 

What does the word "hot toddy" actually mean? It originates from the Hindi word tārīa type of fermented drink from the toddy palm tree. 

As with many classic cocktails, the hot toddy evolved and changed into several iterations as it moved throughout Europe and over to the Americas. The Colonial hot toddy uses a good Scottish whisky, while the original American hot toddy recipe came from the Southern states and used rum.  


The Perfect Hot Toddy Recipe

Like many cocktail enthusiasts, we prefer to stick with the classics when mixing a drink. Here's the perfect hot toddy recipe to warm you up on a cold winter night.


  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Lemon twist
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz Bourbon, rye whiskey, Irish whiskey or scotch

How to make it

Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand for a minute or two to warm. Meanwhile, stick the cloves into the lemon twist and set aside. Empty the mug and fill about halfway with fresh boiling water. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the prepared lemon twist and stir. Add the lemon juice and whiskey, and stir again.


Is Hot Toddy Good for a Cough or Flu?

Back in the day, many common medicines had alcohol or other questionable substances in them. While the best thing for a cold or flu will always be rest and vitamins, the logic behind the idea that hot toddies treat colds is solid.

Hot toddies contain lemon, which has Vitamin C— an important vitamin for immunity. Throw in a little spice to clear your sinuses, and a strong shot of spirits to help you sleep, and it's understandable that people in the olden days relied on this remedy. 

But maybe try one of our green smoothie recipes instead? You can add rum to those too.


Make Your Own Hot Toddy Recipe 

Wondering what the best liquor for a hot toddy might be? Or how to change up the flavor profile? Make this acclaimed cocktail recipe your own with a few fun swaps:

  • Swap out whisky for chai rum
  • Add ginger
  • Use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar
  • Create an apple cider version
  • Steep with lemon slices or lemon zest
  • Make a cold toddy

Don't forget to treat yourself to one of our sustainable stainless steel tumblers to keep your drink warm while you sip. Check out our full drinkware collection here

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