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Easy Hot Toddy Recipe 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 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.

Old Fashioned Cocktail RecipeYou 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.

Add a Little Vinegar

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.

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.

The Best Hot Toddy Recipe

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 Recipe with Lemon and Honey

Easy Hot Toddy Recipe 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

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


    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.
  • 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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19 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Kay December 14, 2017, 7:52 pm

    This recipe is perfect! I agree that the apple cider vinegar brings all the flavors together…I didn’t have a lemon so used bottled real lemon juice, Captain Morgan dark spiced rum and wildflower honey…along with hot water and the vinegar…very soothing!

  • Christy December 12, 2017, 10:39 pm

    We did the recipe exactly except used the fireball whisky. Very soothing on the throat & chest as my husband and I are both feeling under the weather. So very comforting and tasted great!

  • Holly Compton October 19, 2017, 3:51 pm

    This is exactly what I needed, delicious!

  • Brandi October 1, 2017, 3:24 am

    Ahh-mazing. This was perfect. I used lemon ginger tea and half the lemon. I probably used a little over half a cup of water to dilute a little but still so good. My new go to when I need to kick a cold or to warm up fron the cold.

  • Kathryn Root August 20, 2017, 8:29 pm

    I made the hot toddy recipe with apple cider vinegar, ginger lemon tea, lemon juice, and spiced rum. It is great. I am drinking it to get rid of my coughing all day.

  • Cheryl Wright January 15, 2017, 12:04 am

    Went by the suggested recipe and was very pleased. Definitely a repeater 😀

  • Melissa Ferrell January 7, 2017, 5:10 pm

    5 stars for me. I had tried making a toddy one other time, and didn’t like it at all. I had no bourbon or rum on hand, so used a good quality rye, hot water, honey and lemon juice and slice, all in the quantities suggested in recipe. I also heated everything I used, including jigger, spoon, measuring spoon. It was still not hot enough, so I microwaved it 10 seconds, and it was perfect. I also added the vinegar.

  • Kristina K January 4, 2017, 8:58 pm

    Great base recipe that allows for creativity! Since I am feeling too under the weather to run and pick up more lemons and bourbon, I used what I had on hand. My toddy consists of apple cinnamon herbal tea,lemon juice,honey, and yes… I added the apple cider vinegar!(Awesome addition, by the way!) Topped it off with Fireball cinnamon whiskey, and tossed in a few whole cloves.Tastes wonderful and hopefully I’ll be feeling better in the morning!

  • April Carrillo December 13, 2016, 3:39 pm

    I used orange spiced tea and when I brewed the tea I used water I had boiled with an orange sliced and muddled. I also used brandy and honey for sweetener. It was awesome! I had gone to the dentist early that morning and my jaw hurt so bad. Plus it was a dreary cold day. What a perfect warm and cozy drink.

  • Mal Sperling March 5, 2016, 9:51 pm

    I tried this to help with a cough – yum! I used dark rum, lemon-ginger tea, honey and apple cider vinegar along with lemon juice. Not only does it taste great, it’s helping! Thanks.


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