wikiHow to Make a Hot Toddy Drink

Three Parts:Picking a Base LiquidAdding SpiritsFlavoring the Drink

A hot toddy can be a warm pick-me-up drink on a cold day. Historically, they've been used to ease throat and chest pain during colds, or as a relaxing beverage before bedtime.[1] It is also a highly customizable drink, and can be tailored to suit many tastes. If you would like to make a hot toddy that is perfect for you, it's as simple as choosing a base liquid, an alcohol, and the flavorings that best suit your palate.

Part 1
Picking a Base Liquid

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    Start with hot water. You will need approximately one cup of a hot liquid as the base of your drink. Traditionally, a hot toddy is made with a base of hot water. This is probably the easiest liquid to use, as you can simply heat water in a kettle or pan on the stove.
    • Using hot water, as opposed to a flavored liquid, does not mean that your toddy will be flavorless. It just means that the flavors you add to the drink will be stronger and more recognizable in the final drink.[2]
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    Use tea. Add a herbal tea bag to your hot water. This will give your hot toddy more flavor and it will help your throat, if you are drinking your hot toddy to ease a cold or flu.
    • Any type of tea will work. If you like a lot of flavor, consider using a bolder tea, such as a spiced blend like chai. This will add tremendously to the flavor.[3]
    • Remember that a lot of teas have caffeine. If you want to go to sleep soon after drinking your toddy, be sure to get an herbal tea instead of one that is caffeinated.[4]
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    Opt for hot apple cider. Hot cider is a great base for a hot toddy. It is flavorful and sweet, and will add a lot of character to your drink.
    • Hot cider is best heated in a small saucepan on very low heat. You can also warm it in the glass you are using for your drink in a microwave. Just be careful, as the glass is likely to get very hot in a microwave.
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    Choose an alternate base. Because there is no strict recipe for a hot toddy, you can really choose any base liquid that is usually drunk warm. For example, you can use coffee or hot chocolate as the base for your drink.
    • Remember that you can make your hot toddy any way you want. If you don't like the traditional version, try something new!

Part 2
Adding Spirits

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    Add whisky or brandy to your glass. Traditionally, a hot toddy is made with whiskey or brandy, or a combination of the two. Add a small (or generous) amount and gently stir to mix ingredients.[5]
    • What type of whisky or brandy you use is up to you.
    • Add the amount of whisky or brandy you like. If you like a weak drink, add less than an ounce. If you like a strong drink, add an ounce and a half.
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    Try adding rum or spiced rum. If you don't like the flavor of whisky or brandy, try a little rum. Use the same amount of liquor as you would if using the other spirits.
    • The spices in spiced rum in particular go very well in a hot toddy.
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    Consider adding additional liqueurs or flavored spirits. Bartenders are known to add a wide variety of spirits to the traditional hot toddy mixture.[6] This can vary greatly, from replacing the main liquor, with gin for example, to adding a splash of Campari or some other liqueur to add complexity to the flavor.

Part 3
Flavoring the Drink

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    Add citrus. Most hot toddy have lemon juice in them. You can either squeeze some lemon juice into the glass or you can simply throw in a slice of lemon, which can serve as a garnish and flavoring. If you would like to put a twist on the traditional recipe, consider using an additional form of citrus, such as orange juice, to give your drink some extra flavor.
    • The citrus adds a little Vitamin C to your drink, so that may add to its benefits for those fighting a cold.[7]
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    Stir in a sweetener. Honey is traditionally used to sweeten a hot toddy. Take a tablespoon of honey and stir it into the warm liquid already in the glass. It will dissolve quickly, adding a nice sweetness to your drink.
    • If you don't have honey, you can use sugar to sweeten your drink. Sugar won't add as much flavor, however, as honey will.
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    Spice the drink. A hot toddy is traditionally spiced with cinnamon, usually by putting a whole cinnamon stick right into the glass. You can also add additional spices that complement the cinnamon, such as nutmeg or cloves, which adds to the drinks wintery, aromatic flavor.
    • Consider adding a splash of bitters to your drink. Bitters are tinctures made from flavorful plants. When you add them to a drink, they create a more complex and interesting flavor.[8]
    • You can even make a pouch of your favourite sweet spices using a square of cheesecloth and a small length of butchers twine. Fill it with a selection of cinnamon sticks, allspice, star anise, cloves, or whatever good mulling spices you have available.
    • Alternatively, you can used fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg, if you don't mind it in your drink.
    • Put the spices in the cup while the liquid is very hot. This will help to bring out their flavor.


  • You can add mint, caramelized sugar, or a favorite seasonal flavouring.
  • Make one as a treat for kids, but leave out the spirits.


  • Exercise caution around very hot drinks. Sip the drink cautiously at first, so you don't burn yourself.
  • When drinking a hot toddy to treat a cold, remember that it can actually dehydrate you. Be sure to drink plenty of water, in addition to your tasty alcoholic beverage.[9]

Article Info

Categories: Alcoholic Drinks