Lemon Honey Hot Toddy

How to make a hot toddy! We love these classic hot toddies made with hot water (or tea), dark liquor like whiskey or bourbon, fresh lemon, and honey.

Watch the video

Lemon Honey Hot Toddy Video

⭐️ Try our old-fashioned cocktail with bourbon and orange.

3 Secrets for the best hot toddy

  1. Use your favorite dark liquor, like brandy, whiskey, rum, or bourbon.
  2. Fresh lemon and honey balance the alcohol and make our hot toddy soothing.
  3. Add a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar, or use a shrub to enhance the flavors of the toddy without making it too sweet.

We love a great hot toddy, especially during the colder months. A hot toddy is a classic cocktail with dark liquor like whiskey, hot water, and spices. We love adding lemon and sweetening the hot toddies with honey. The variations are endless, so think of this as a guide.

What’s in a hot toddy?

To make a hot toddy, combine the following ingredients in a small mug.

Use a dark liquor like brandy, whiskey, rum, and bourbon. The best liquor for making hot toddies is one you enjoy the flavor of. We love using dark rum or bourbon.

Hot water is classic and easy, or try hot tea. Hot toddies made with tea are extra soothing and delicious. We’ve tried a variety of teas ourselves. We love how black tea, like English breakfast, stands up to the liquor, but a calmer, more soothing tea like chamomile was wonderful, too. Ginger tea is also excellent.

Honey or maple syrup sweetens up our hot toddy. Add as much as you need.

Fresh lemon is classic in this recipe and I absolutely love it. Orange is also quite delicious.

The Best Hot Toddy

Try our secret ingredient for the best hot toddy

A tiny splash of apple cider vinegar brings out all the flavors of the toddy without making it taste too sweet. Adam came up with the idea after ordering a hot toddy at a small bar in Seattle — they mixed in a shrub, which is basically a fruit-and-vinegar syrup added to cocktails and sodas.

Since we don’t make our own shrubs at home, 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.

If you have a favorite shrub, try it in your drink. I bet it will be really delicious.

Our Favorite Hot Toddy with Lemon

How to make a hot toddy for a cold?

My grandmother swore by hot toddies for colds, but we skip the alcohol when we’re sick. We do still make our hot toddy recipe, but leave out the alcohol. A drink made with lemon, honey, hot water, and a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar is soothing and feels amazing on a sore throat. Swap that hot water for tea like chamomile, and you’re really talking.

Hot Toddy with Lemon and Honey

Lemon Honey Hot Toddy

  • COOK

We love dark rum or bourbon when making a hot toddy, but brandy or your favorite whisky will work. 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.

Makes 1 drink

Watch Us Make the Recipe

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

Lemon slice


    1Put 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

  • Apple cider vinegar: 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: 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.
  • Hot Toddy Mocktail: Make the recipe as stated above, but leave out the rum. This drink as a mocktail is delicious!
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 drink / Calories 129 / Protein 0 g / Carbohydrate 18 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 17 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
Inspired Taste Newsletter Signup
45 comments… Leave a Review
  • Jane September 11, 2023, 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the ideas! I used ginger and black tea with raw honey, Meyer lemon, and cognac. Sadly I have covid, so zero aromas are getting through. I made two cups, one with and one without the apple cider vinegar. For me, the sans-vinegar was the winner. Both went right down the chute though; and then I rested without coughing. Thanks again this was a fun diversion.

  • Susan Mozaffari November 13, 2022, 4:09 am

    Helpful recipes! Great for when you have a cold or Sinus issues.

  • Michelle January 20, 2022, 9:40 pm

    Highly recommend this recipe! I used Goslings dark rum, hot water and I definitely encourage adding the apple cider vinegar for a savvy, flavorful touch. Tonight I’ll make it with Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Thank you!

  • Mackie December 6, 2021, 1:36 pm

    I had my doubts but this is amazing! I made mine with plain hot black tea, honey, lemon juice, the recommended apple cider vinegar, and gosling’s black seal rum. Very flavorful and warming, perfect for the upcoming holidays.

  • Robin C November 22, 2021, 10:42 am

    Made these last night with Decaf Constant Comment tea, fresh lemon juice, local honey, the apple cider vinegar, and dark rum. I made most with 1 oz of rum and mine with a 1/3 of an oz – both were so, so yummy. Thumbs up from even the doubters (husband doesn’t like lemon typically) . The tea has some extra spices in it, which I think added some nice additional depth.. would definitely recommend trying this and I’ll absolutely plan to make again.

  • Amanda October 27, 2021, 1:23 pm

    I’m definitely going to make myself one of these tonight, and I do have apple cider vinegar on hand. I have a cold with sore throat. This sounds like it will be so soothing!

  • SuzC October 19, 2021, 9:36 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! I made ours with chamomile tea, whisky, lemon, and honey. I did my husbands without apple cider vinegar and mine with just a little bit of it. And I have to say, wow the apple cider vinegar, even a little, was better! It really brought out all the flavors! So cozy on a chilly fall night and soothing with the sniffles!

  • Elle July 7, 2021, 7:18 am

    Thanks for the video. We don’t have them in Australia but in America tv shows talk about them so I wanted to make myself. Thank you :).

  • Gail Walraven June 30, 2021, 1:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Gail Walraven June 30, 2021, 1:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I’m definitely going to try this tonight. I’ve been so sick, with asthma, bronchitis, real congested.

  • Cynthia Thomas May 29, 2021, 11:39 pm

    Work’s wonderful

  • Colleen Lane December 4, 2020, 1:32 am

    I has thinking about making this for my family christmas party on the 19th using the dark rum, and using apple cider flavored tea what do all think?


Leave a Reply

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe!


All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our comment guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

Previous Post: Next Post: