Have a Hot Toddy Holiday This Year

“A Hot Toddy is a warm, soothing cocktail, perfect for these cooler months. A classic hot drink that is very easy to make” – Joann Spiegel, The Dead Rabbit

It’s time to face reality. I suppose I can finally admit that summer is officially over. I know it might seem that I’m a little late to the party since we are already well past Halloween and headed straight for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and all manner of snow-covered holidays. But, the days are getting much shorter and the nights are getting longer and colder and it’s the perfect time of year for a hot drink. Especially if that hot drink is spiked with a little booze.

If the usual spiked hot cider or Irish coffee isn’t cutting it, you should turn to the winter staple, the hot toddy. This (obviously) hot cocktail consists of a spirit (usually whisky), hot water, lemon juice and honey. That is the most basic recipe, but bartenders have experimented with different spices and herbs as well as liqueurs and other festive ingredients. Some people like to add cloves, a stick of cinnamon and slices of lemon. You can also make a hot toddy with your favorite tea instead of just hot water.

“Traditionally spirit, sugar (usually honey) and hot water, the hot toddy has evolved over the years to include first lemon and then a variety of aromatic spices such as anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon,” says Spiegel. The original recipe wasn’t set in stone. It allowed for each person to add more sweetness as they saw fit. “And the alcohol used was not necessarily whisk(e)y, it was the traditional spirit of the region, for example Gin in Holland or Scotch in Scotland.”

With its invention in the 14th Century (or earlier), the drink is one of the world’s oldest cocktails. “With roots in India and Southeast Asia, the hot toddy gained status in medicinal practice as a cure for the common cold and found its way into an abundance of medical journals this way. But alas, today’s science does not support this; it does however support the fact that it is an effective and pleasant antidote to the winter chills,” says Spiegel.

Originally, the hot toddy was created to be imbibed as a night cap directly before going to bed in order to help you sleep on a frosty winter evening or a cold, rainy night. They believe that if you have the flu or a cold, you should bypass the cold medicine and make yourself a soothing hot toddy instead. While I don’t recommend replacing proven medicine for a hot, booze-filled cocktail, I do believe the hot toddy is the perfect drink to warm your bones.

Like many cocktails, the hot toddy’s invention is somewhat of a mystery. It’s one of those drinks that always seemed to exist. There are two different theories about when it was invented. In India there is a drink called a “toddy”. It’s made from fermented palm tree sap that is distilled to create a spirit similar to brandy. India’s “toddy” is a punch made from the distilled spirit and tea, water, sugar and lemon. It’s very similar to the hot toddy that we know except for the different spirit. The other possible theory is that the name comes from Tod’s Well, where the Scottish city of Edinburgh got its water.

Clyde May’s Hot Toddy

Created by Graham Heubach, Sportsman’s Club in Chicago


  • 1 oz. Clyde May’s Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Tawny Port
  • 0.5 oz. Orange Liqueur (Mandarine Napoléon)
  • 0.5 oz. cinnamon syrup
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz. hot water

    Add all ingredients to a double old fashioned glass and stir to combine. Top with an orange peel.

“Rock Your Face Off (Hot Toddy)”


New York distilling Company

Distilled and bottled in at New York Distilling Company in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye is an original recipe developed spirits expert Allen Katz. Made popular in the late 1800’s this “age of old” spirit begins with a youthful rye, tempered with rock candy sugar, dried cherries, cinnamon and orange peel- lending itself as a great addition to cocktails.


  • 2 oz Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye
  • 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Honey Syrup (2:1 Honey:Water)
  • 1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Add ingredients to a toddy or 6oz juice glass. Add 3 oz of hot water and stir. Garnish with a half-lemon wheel in the glass.


Famously smooth and flavorful, Knappogue Castle Single Malt is distilled in copper pot stills using only malted barley, aged in oak casks, then bottled according to the year of distillation.


  • 1oz Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  • 1oz Celtic Honey Liqueur
  • 1 Lemon Wheel
  • 5-6 Cloves
  • 1 C Hot Water


From Wolfgang Puck Catering


  • 2 oz Pear Brandy
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • .75 oz Lemon Juice
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Pear Wedge or Slice
  • Hot Water

    TO MAKE:

  • Stir Honey into Hot Water until dissolved in mug.
  • Stir in Lemon Juice and Brandy.
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Stick and Pear in drink.

Hot Toddy

© Kevin Syms

From Sun Valley Resort


  • 2 oz. JD Honey Whiskey
  • 1.5 oz. Raw Honey
  • Hot water
  • Whipped cream

For a romantic night by the fire with someone special, a Hot Toddy and warmed Grand Marnier are a match made in heaven. Sun Valley Resort’s toddy offers honey whiskey, raw honey and whipped cream – ideal for when the weather outside is frightful.

Take Stock

From Executive Chef Caprial Pence, Bookstore Bar & Café in Seattle


  • 5 oz. rich chicken stock
  • 1.5 oz. dry sherry
  • ¼ oz. ginger syrup
  • Served warm in a snifter with an herb rim