How To Make A Hot Toddy

Warm up with this cozy winter cocktail!

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).

A hot toddy makes for a delightful after dinner drink, especially if your plans include bingeing season four 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


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


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

Ginger-rum hot toddy


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


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

Warm chai toddy


  • 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


  • 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.