How to make a hot toddy with bourbon, rum or other dark spirit, lemon, honey and hot water. Plus, lots of suggestions for variations. Jump to the Hot Toddy Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
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.
How to Make Our Favorite Hot Toddy with Honey and Lemon
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 shrubs 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.
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.
Easy Hot Toddy Recipe with Honey and Lemon
Try dark rum or bourbon for this. Brandy or your favorite whisky will work, but dark rum and bourbon are our favorite. Hot toddies are best warm so you might want to think about warming your mug just before making the drink. Simply fill your mug with hot water then empty it.
You Will Need
1 ounce dark rum or bourbon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure honey
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, optional
1/4 cup hot water or brewed tea
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.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- The acid from the apple cider vinegar brings out all the flavors of the toddy without making it taste too sweet. The drink tastes great without it as well, but if you have cider vinegar in your pantry, give it a try.
- 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.