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 Recipe

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 Recipe with Lemon and Honey

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


    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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38 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Matt November 18, 2020, 8:56 pm

    This tastes good.

  • Debra November 12, 2020, 11:51 pm

    Tried this with my housemates just a bit ago so we didn’t have to turn on the heater on this chilly night. Totally hit the spot. Feeling warm and toasty now! Perfect! Thank you! Used Maker’s Mark bourbon.

  • Susan Ade September 25, 2020, 11:15 pm

    Delicious and soothing. By all means try the splash of vinegar! I was gifted with some blackberry/gingervinegar, so tried that … to die for! My spirit of choice was Capt.
    Morgan’s Spiced Rum… nice! Thank you for this keeper of a recipe.

  • Kimberly Bingham February 7, 2020, 8:44 pm

    Made this for my hubby minus the apple cider vinegar, he feels better almost imediately. Thanks so much

  • ellison January 31, 2020, 8:03 pm

    good! Thanks for recipe

  • Sandi Jones December 10, 2019, 1:27 am

    Delicious! I made it with Earl Grey tea, and it was PERFECT.

  • Meg December 20, 2018, 3:42 pm

    Do you have to use alcohol in a hot toddy. I try to stay away from alcohol

    • Joanne December 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

      You can leave it out.

    • Billy Wiz December 4, 2019, 5:21 pm

      If you don’t have alcohol in it it doesn’t do anything. You need the devils brew in it to chase that ailment away…

  • Connie Cash December 15, 2018, 1:29 am

    I use chamomile tea and it was tasty will see if it works good night hopefully

    • Billy Wiz December 4, 2019, 5:23 pm

      Camomile tea will do squat Connie. Bourbon is the magic juice.

  • emily s johnson December 8, 2018, 4:54 pm

    I have bad bronchitis and needed something to help loosen the phlegm in my chest and thought of my childhood when mama would use shine whiskey with peppermint dissolved in it and put it on a teaspoon on sugar for cough syrup…it worked , so I thought of a hot toddy and found your recipe…it is great…

  • Terry Burch November 11, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tried your recipe was great hopefully it makes me feel better

  • Jon October 5, 2018, 3:02 am

    I tried it with American Honey because that’s what I had, and I used chai because it has cinnamon and cloves and ginger in it already. It was good and soothed my scratchy throat.

  • Skip June 5, 2018, 1:24 pm

    Sounds like nice recipes by everyone, I go with the Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire, fresh real lemon squeeze, a pinch of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Organic ACV, Organic Honey and sometimes some peppermint tea. I really like @Johnna post, I’m going to go try the Tazo Cinnamon Spice Today. I just wish TAZO made their tea in kcups lol

  • Katherine February 22, 2018, 9:10 pm

    OMG adding the apple cider vinegar is FABULOUS! Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  • Ang January 7, 2018, 1:46 am

    A delightful take on this age-old drink is using cinnamon whiskey with the lemon and sweetener. It really adds another layer of warmth and it’s delicious. Made it tonight while reading this page. It is great for relaxing and soothing cold symptoms in the winter!

  • Lynn January 6, 2018, 5:27 pm

    This made me feel much better and will use again when needed


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