A Winter Classic – The Hot Toddy

Après Ski or cure for the common cold? I vote both. There is a reason people have been enjoying some permutation of this drink since the 17th century. The wonderful David Wondrich once compared this family of beverages to a tripod. It has always rung true with me. This is a seemingly simple drink with just three ingredients – a spirit, a sweetener and hot water. Remove one of these and the drink falls on its face. This simplicity leads to a lot of wiggle room in which spirit and sweetener you use.

The Scots (shockingly) prefer whiskey, the Dutch use genever (aka jenever aka gin), and here in America, we’ve favored rum or brandy in Colonial times and bourbon more recently. On the sweetener side of things, cane sugar, maple syrup, demerara, or a sweet spirit to accompany the base? If you’re sick, keeping things simple is easy, comforting and helps soothe all the icky feelings your having. If you’ve just finished an adventure out into the great, cold wilderness, trying something a bit more adventurous might be more challenging and stimulating to get the body warm.

On the more unique side of the family, I like to combine cognac with ginger liqueur and Grand Marnier or tequila, honey and white tea. There is no end to the possibilities. If you have a favorite please let me know! In the interim, and in the spirit of cold season, here is my method.


4 oz hot water

2 oz bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve this time)

1 tbsp honey

½ oz fresh lemon juice

Wedge of lemon for garnish


Set water to boil. I’m all about the whistle of the old school kettle but the electric sort are so fast!

While water is heating, combine bourbon, honey and lemon juice in a mug that hold at least 8 ounces.

Pour hot water over mixture in mug while stirring with a spoon.

Garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy, feel better and cheers!


2 Comments on “A Winter Classic – The Hot Toddy

  1. Recently I have had a lot of fun using tea in hot toddies as well. The citrus in Earl Grey is lovely and the extra warming kick from a ginger tumeric is delicious too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: