Classic Hot Toddy

I love a good hot toddy. A classic version is usually made of just four ingredients: hot water, whiskey or bourbon, lemon, and honey.

It’s a pretty light cocktail that you can sip slowly and warm yourself with. A great option for the cold winter months.

A hot toddy tastes like a slightly sweeter version of whatever spirit you use to make it. So, use a whiskey, bourbon, or rum that you enjoy sipping as the flavor will come through.

Also, since hot water is a large component of this cocktail, I like to use filtered water. Basically, if you don’t love the flavor of your tap water you might want to figure out an alternative (like getting a filter) because you likely will taste it in a hot toddy.

I have a specific order I like to add the hot toddy ingredients in as it makes the process a little easier. First, I add the whiskey and honey to a mug, then I pour in the hot water (and give that a couple stirs to make sure the honey dissolves) then I add lemon. That’s it!

You can heat your water to boiling if you like (or use a tea kettle), but my kettle has a temperature reader on it and I tend to use water around 140°F to 150°F. This is hot, but not boiling hot.

I like to be able to sip my hot toddy almost immediately after making it.

What are the ingredients of a hot toddy?

Hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon.

Since it’s so simple, use good tasting water and a whiskey (or bourbon, or rum) that you like sipping. I like Maker’s Mark, but there are lots of options.

Maybe you want to spice things up? Here are some things I sometimes mix into a simple hot toddy:

  • tea—any flavor that goes well with the spirit you are using (I like things like lemon, ginger, or cinnamon)
  • apple cider mix
  • oranges or other citrus besides lemon
  • cinnamon sticks
  • spices like nutmeg or turmeric

Need more hot toddy recipes?

After a cold day, I love a hot toddy! Cheers. xo. Emma.

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5 from 1 vote

Classic Honey Toddy

a simple hot cocktail with only four ingredients
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword cocktails, hot toddy
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Author Emma Chapman


  • 1 ½ ounces whiskey or bourbon
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • lemon


  • Add the whiskey and honey to a mug.
  • Add the hot water. I like to heat the water to between 140°F to 150°F, but whatever you usually make hot tea at is fine.
  • Stir so the honey dissolves.
  • Add a lemon slice.


You can swap out the lemon for any citrus including orange. Squeeze to release some juice, or you can peel the rind and add that as garnish too.
Here are a few things you can add to spice a simple hot toddy up: cinnamon sticks, spices like nutmeg or turmeric, apple cider mix, tea that goes well with the spirits you are using. 
You can use whiskey, bourbon, or rum—just use one you would sip (not a white rum or something that should be mixed in with stronger tasting ingredients). 
  • This looks delicious and the presentation is SO cute! Can’t wait to try it!

    Arin |

  • Honey is such a great ingredient!
    Something small that can make a big impact in the long run: we can all try to buy the honey we need from a local beekeper who works in a sustainable way. I guess there are certification systems for this in the U.S., too.

  • This looks super good and warming on a cold winter’s day! Thank you for sharing the recipe, can’t wait to try it out! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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