How to make a hot toddy with bourbon, rum or other dark spirit, lemon, honey and hot water. Plus, lots of suggestions for variations.
We make them often, especially during the colder months. Variations are endless, so think of this as a guide.
You will also like this article showing you how to make an Old Fashioned Cocktail. We usually use bourbon or rye whisky, but you’ll also see that we enjoy swapping them for an aged dark rum.
Our Favorite Hot Toddy Recipe
We choose a dark rum or bourbon. Brandy or whisky work well, but a hot toddy with dark rum or bourbon are our favorite.
You can deviate from the honey and lemon, as well. Orange, grapefruit or meyer lemon would be lovely. We love the floral sweetness of honey, but brown sugar, agave nectar or other sweeteners can be used.
Tea is a nice variation, too. We’ve tried chamomile, ginger and even a black tea before. All were nice, but the black tea really stood out as a favorite — especially with dark rum.
A tiny splash of apple cider vinegar is really nice. Adam came up with the idea after ordering a hot toddy in the city — they mixed in a shrub, which is basically a fruit-and-vinegar syrup added to cocktails and sodas. The acid from the vinegar brings out all the flavors of the toddy without making it taste too sweet.
Since we don’t make our own shrubs at home (yet), we thought adding a little splash of apple cider vinegar just might work. It did. So well in fact that we think you should try it yourself.
Make two hot toddies, one with vinegar and the other without. Then taste the difference. I’m betting you’ll prefer the one with vinegar.
Another thing to consider is to buy a shrub and add that — we like Pok Pok’s shrub a lot. Others suggest Inna Shrub and The Hudson Standard Shrub — they are all really well reviewed. There are probably local producers too — ask a bartender what they have behind the bar.
My last suggestion for playing with your own hot toddy is to call on a spice or two. Think cinnamon, clove or allspice. This hot toddy recipe from Minimalist Baker even has chili and cinnamon added.
Don’t they look so warming! We’re so excited for you to experiment for yourselves. Let us know in the comments how you make your best hot toddy.
- 1 ounce dark rum or bourbon
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, optional
- 1/4-cup hot water or brewed tea
- Lemon slice
- Put honey, lemon juice and the apple cider vinegar in a warmed mug. Add hot water or hot tea and stir until the honey has dissolved. Add the rum or bourbon, stir then finish with a lemon slice.
Tea is a nice variation. We’ve tried chamomile, ginger and even a black tea before. All were nice, but the black tea really stood out as a favorite — especially with dark rum.