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How to Make a Hot Toddy: Whisky, Rum & Cognac Recipes

How to Make a Hot Toddy: Whisky, Rum & Cognac Recipes

Last Updated on 25th February 2022 by

The hot toddy is a very comforting drink that are usually meant to hydrate and medicate for people who are feeling unwell. Just be careful about mixing the hot toddy with medication, as hot toddies usually contain alcohol, which doesn’t pair well with medication.

I’m going to share with you a method for how to make a hot toddy, and I think once you try it, you’ll agree that they are really simple to put together. You only need a few ingredients for the classic drink- whisky, hot water, honey, and lemon. This cocktail tends to be really light and doesn’t have that kind of overpowering sweetness that something like warm cider or mulled wine would have.

A lot of people use these as holiday drinks or cold weather beverages, and it is excellent for warming you up on a bitterly chilly day. Instead of a cup of hot cocoa or hot tea, a hot toddy can work in a pinch. It’s the kind of drink you would want to sip slowly, particularly as a nightcap, since the heat can help you drift off to sleep more easily.

How to Make a Hot Toddy with Whisky

The method I use for making hot toddies turn out great every time is to use a little bit of honey and lemon juice, in just the perfect amount. You’ll want to adjust these specific ingredients to suit your preferences, so keep that in mind if you’re not thrilled with how the hot toddy tastes initially. Simply increasing or decreasing how much honey or lemon juice is in the hot toddy can give it the right flavor.

There are a lot of ways you can make this drink, and some people will use brandy or dark rum instead of whiskey. I’ll share with you some of those variations, if you’d prefer to change things up a little bit.


  • 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 lemon round
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (more if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey (more if necessary)
  • 1 cinnamon stick to garnish


  1. Pour the water into a saucepan on the stove top and heat until it starts to simmer. Once the water is hot, you can pour it into a mug. (Alternatively, you can simply warm some water in a kettle.)
  2. Pour whisky, lemon juice and honey into the mug and stir until the honey dissolves completely.
  3. Give the hot toddy a taste and add more lemon juice or honey as needed. Honey makes it sweeter and lemon juice gives it a little zestier bite.
  4. Garnish your drink with a cinnamon stick and lemon round.

You can follow this recipe for how to make a hot toddy with Jack Daniels or whichever whiskey you prefer.

How to Make a Hot Toddy with Rum

You can make this drink with rum as well, and it’s simply a matter of substituting the whisky out for rum, though you can make some changes that take advantage of the different flavor of the rum. I would suggest using a spiced rum, like Captain Morgan, when you make the hot toddy.

Use about an ounce or an ounce and a half of rum, and then you can try it without the lemon or cinnamon stick for garnish and instead add a dash or two of cinnamon sugar for flavoring. This changes things up nicely, which is what I prefer when I’m using a different alcohol base for the drink.

Once again, you can add more honey and lemon juice as you like to flavor the hot toddy to your preferences, making it sweeter or zestier as necessary.

How to Make a Hot Toddy with Bourbon

Try this drink with bourbon as well, substituting that in for the whisky and using extra honey to sweeten. I use about 2 tablespoons of honey for every 6 tablespoons of bourbon in this variation.

How to Make a Hot Toddy with Hennessy

The hot toddy works well with cognac like Hennessy too. Feel free to keep most of the recipe the same, but I like to add tea to the hot toddy when using Hennessy. You may want to try something other than honey as well, for a richer, more complex flavor, I like maple syrup or another kind of high quality syrup, using about a tablespoon of it to sweeten the drink.

How to Make a Hot Toddy with Tea

For a more comforting, nourishing, and nutritious hot toddy, try incorporating some hot tea into it. You can use green or black tea, and you will want to prepare and steep the tea as normal before adding it to the hot toddy. Make sure you stir everything together so that it incorporates well. The honey is the key ingredient that may have some trouble mixing. The trick is to keep mixing your hot toddy until the honey dissolves all the way.

How to Make a Hot Toddy for a Cold

What a comforting remedy the toddy is for those days when you feel under the weather. If you’re experiencing some cold or flu-like symptoms, this drink can soothe your throat, easing your cough and helping you feel better.

The honey is a natural throat relaxant, soothing sore throats and working as a cough suppressant. You’ll often find honey as an ingredient in cough drops and cough syrups. Of course, the heat of this drink does wonders for when your throat is feeling rotten.

Be really careful about using much whiskey with this drink if you’re trying to medicate with it when you are feeling ill. The alcohol is not going to help very much. Just using tea, honey, lemon, and hot water together can really help your cold, flu, or cough. You may want to leave out the whiskey entirely when you’re sick.

There are a lot of great ways you can make this recipe, using ingredients you prefer and sweetening with different components as well. Play around with it a little bit to see what you like, and if you make any interesting combinations, be sure to share them in the comments below.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here