How To Make A Hot Toddy

Warm up with this cozy winter cocktail!

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Glass mug filled with a hot toddy and a cinnamon stick.

Warm up with a hot toddy! Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Cold nights call for hot drinks, and few things warm you up better than a hot toddy: a classic, homey cocktail that’s as comfy as your favourite pair of woolly socks.

What is a hot toddy?

The name alone is enough to evoke thoughts of cozy nights in. With a mix of booze (whisky, bourbon or brandy will do), honey, lemon, hot water and a hint of spice (think cinnamon or cloves), a hot toddy makes for a soothing, and easy-to-assemble cocktail.  According to The Telegraph, this wintertime elixir, with roots in Scotland, originated in the 18th century as a way to mask the taste of unpalatable raw Scotch (sugar, dates, saffron, mace, nuts and cinnamon apparently did the trick). Now, many down hot toddies to ease unpleasant cold and flu symptoms.

Just holding a steaming bevvie when you’re sick can make you feel better (amen for the placebo affect). But, as The Smithsonian Magazine explains, even though booze might not be the best thing to consume if you’re really sick, the ingredients in a hot toddy (lemon, honey and hot water) might actually help ease symptoms like a sore throat or nasal congestion. Tea with honey and lemon would work, too.

Even if you’re not feeling under-the-weather, a hot toddy makes for a delightful after dinner drink, especially if your plans include bingeing season three of everyone’s favourite royal drama, The Crown.

How to make a hot toddy

A classic hot toddy is comprised of whisky, hot water, lemon, honey and cloves. But, you can get creative and mix one with your favourite spirit and warming, spicy flavours. Dark spirits—like whisky, rum, bourbon and even brandy—work best. And if you really fall in love with this winter warmer, you can even make hot toddy-inspired shortbread cookies. But before you bring out your stand mixer, here are three hot toddy recipes from the Chatelaine Kitchen.

Classic hot toddy recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2, up to 3 cloves
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • Place brandy and sugar in a mug. Stick cloves into lemon and add. Top up with boiling water.

Ginger-rum hot toddy

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ginger syrup (recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup hot tea, such as English Breakfast

Instructions

  • Combine rum with lemon juice and ginger syrup in a glass mug. Pour in hot tea. Serve immediately.

Warm chai toddy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1 orange pekoe tea bag
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dark rum, for each cup
  • cinnamon sticks
  • twist of orange peel, for garnish

Instructions

  • Boil water with cinnamon stick. Remove from heat and add chai and orange pekoe. Let steep 5 min. Remove cinnamon stick and tea bags. Add orange juice and honey. Divide tea mixture among 4 mugs and top each with 1 tbsp of dark rum. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and twists of orange rind.