Easy Hot Toddy with Honey and Lemon

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

The Best Hot Toddy

How to Make Our Favorite Hot Toddy

We make them often, especially during the colder months. Variations are endless, so think of this as a guide. When it comes to the best liquor for making hot toddies, we choose a dark rum or bourbon. Brandy or whisky work well, but a hot toddy with dark rum or bourbon are our favorite.

Our Favorite Hot Toddy with Lemon

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.

We like to use Bourbon or Dark Rum for Hot Toddies

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.

Hot Toddy with Lemon and Honey

More: Try our Bourbon Manhattan or for someone who does not drink, we love this Sparkling Grapefruit Mocktail!

Easy Hot Toddy with Honey and Lemon

  • COOK

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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

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
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45 comments… Leave a Comment
  • 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?


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