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Hot Toddy

Learn about the history of the Hot Toddy while warming up with this classic recipe featuring whiskey, honey, lemon, and hot water.

What You'll Need

2 oz
1 tbsp


Basic Bar Tools


Squeeze the lemon juice into base of glass
Pour over honey and whiskey
Top with hot water
Stir well until honey is dissolved
Garnish with a lemon wheel
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More About This Drink

We’ll jump into the surprisingly extensive history of the hot toddy cocktail recipe in just a moment, but first, here are some other warm cocktails that you’ll want to check out should you find yourself stuck in a cabin during a snowstorm: the Red Wine Hot Chocolate, the Peppermint Hot Chocolate, the Polar Bear Hot Chocolate, the Nutella Henny Hot Chocolate, the Hot Nutty Irishman, Hot Chocolate Shots, and the Amaretto Hot Chocolate. OK, now in terms of the actual history of the Hot Toddy — which is sometimes spelled Hot Totty or Hot Tottie — the story, as always, is pretty muddled. Apparently the Hot Toddy recipe may have been hijacked by the British after they colonized India. As the Hot Toddy Wiki notes, “The word toddy comes from the toddy drink in India, produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees. Its earliest known use to mean ‘a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices’ is from 1786.” But VinePair, on the other hand, notes that there’s another origin story that “tells the tale of an Irish doctor named Robert Bentley Todd, who ordered his patients to drink hot brandy, cinnamon, and sugar water.” But VinePair goes on to point out that “the truth is [probably] a combination of the two stories, where doctors heard about the hot toddies from India and started incorporating them into prescriptions.” After its invention, the Hot Toddy recipe made its way to the American colonies, where it was made with both Caribbean rum and local brandy. Unlike something like an aperitif or digestif, the Hot Toddy isn't necessarily a before- or after-dinner drink. Instead, it’s often used as a drink to enjoy specifically during cold weather. It’s also thought to be somewhat effective at combating the negative effects of having an illness like the common cold. As VinePair notes, “By the mid-19th century, the hot toddy had secured its place as the cure for the common cold.” In an unrelated addition, The Hot Toddy recipe Wikipedia page says that "Some believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu—in How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes the drink as 'the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.'" So if you’re looking for a good alcoholic drink that can help with cold symptoms, you have to try out this bad boy! Finally, as a little extra aside, here are a bunch of other whiskey cocktail recipes that you may want to check out: the Whiskey Sour, the Peach Whiskey Iced Tea, the Japanese Whiskey Smash, DIY Red Hots Whiskey, Melon Whiskey Sour Shots, and the Strawberry Whiskey Sour. HOT TODDY 2 oz. (60ml) Whiskey 1 Tbsp Honey Juice of 1/4 of a Lemon Garnish: Lemon Wedge PREPARATION 1. Squeeze the lemon juice into base of glass. 2. Pour over honey and whisky and top with hot water. Stir well until honey is dissolved. 3. Garnish with a lemon wheel. DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

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