Cocktails: The Hot Toddy

When it comes to warm cocktails, the Hot Toddy is as classic as it gets. Whether you’re looking for something to warm you up on a snowy winter night, or you need a little something to help you get over a cold, a Hot Toddy will fit the bill. It may not be exactly what your doctor would order, but what do doctors know anyway? And although Spring is hopefully right around the corner, anyone in the Midwest will tell you that it’s not 100% safe to put away your snow boots until late April or even May. And anytime there’s a chance you’ll need snow boots, there’s a chance you’ll need a Hot Toddy.

If you and I both asked our grandparents how to make a “real” Hot Toddy, odds are we’d come back with two very different drinks. What the two would likely have in common, however, is an ounce or two of whiskey, a little bit of sweetener, and a dash of citrus juice mixed into boiling water. One of us would probably throw a tea bag in the water as well. The ease of variation makes this drink perfect for experimenting and finding what you like best. It also makes the Hot Toddy a drink that you can usually mix up with whatever you find in the pantry. The recipe below is my favorite Hot Toddy method when I have everything on hand, but like I said…mix it up, substitute, and experiment. It’s hard to go wrong here.


Making the Drink



  • 16 oz Boiling Water

  • 2 oz Bourbon

  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

  • ½ oz Lemon Juice

  • Lemon wheel

  • 6-8 cloves

  • 3-4 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters



  1. Fill mug with 8 oz boiling water and set aside to heat for a minute or two
  2. Slice a lemon wheel and stick cloves into the flesh of the lemon, set aside
  3. Empty the mug, add 8 oz fresh boiling water and stir in demerara sugar
  4. Add lemon juice, bourbon, and Bitters and stir again
  5. Add lemon wheel with cloves and serve


Mix it up:

  • Try a different sweetener: Honey, Agave Nectar, and Maple Syrup all work particularly well
  • Add in an orange slice or a couple of apple slices and cinnamon sticks

  • Steep your favorite tea in the water prior to adding the other ingredients


Have a favorite Hot Toddy recipe you’d like to share? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Blake Smith