Hot Toddy Recipe

When there's a chill in the air, a whiskey hot toddy is not only delicious; it's necessary medicine.

Scotch Hot Toddy

"I didn't invent this one," quips McCarthy. His version makes use of AnCnoc 12-year single malt, with a squirt of honey syrup (honey cut with hot water for smoother mixing), a wedge's squeeze of lemon, and to garnish, cinnamon, star anise, allspice berries, and a coin of orange peel studded with whole cloves. On first sip the steam brings with it orange oils and warming spice, the sort of thing you could happily bury your nose in for awhile without bothering to take a sip. (You get around to that sip eventually, of course.)

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Alice Gao

The hot toddy is as seasonal as a drink can be. When the weather is ranging from cold and crisp to windy, drippy, and frigid, a toddy is essential. But it's also quite simple, a welcome contrast to the appley, cranberry-laden holiday drinks we had in November, or the richer, heavier drinks of Christmas itself.

As if this wasn't enough, the toddy is engagingly flexible: While most people prefer theirs with a good dose of Scotch (this is one of the few mixed drinks where a single-malt is not only appropriate but desirable), a nice Irish whiskey works well; bourbon and rye can also do a suitable job, and a toddy made with a good dark rum has a special kind of appeal (and while I haven't tried one yet, word has it that a toddy made with a rich genever is not undesirable).

While Christmas is almost here, there's no need to dive into the eggnog right away. Fortify yourself for the last push before Thursday with a hot toddy, one of the best winter warmers known to mankind.

Options: This is all you need for a decent toddy, though some people prefer to twiddle with the controls a bit. Some choose to grate a bit of nutmeg atop a finished toddy, while others like to add a swath of lemon peel and perhaps a clove or two to the mix. For sweetener, some people like to use honey for the richness; I find the honey's flavor distracting from the whiskey, and prefer to use a rich demerara sugar, which gives the drink a nice body.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins

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  • 2 ounces Scotch whisky (or Irish, or other spirit of choice)
  • 3 to 4 ounces boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Rinse a heavy mug with boiling water, then add sugar. Add water and stir until sugar is dissolved, then add whisky or your chosen spirit.

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