Hot Toddy Recipe

Hot Toddy Recipe

[Photo: 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 medicine. 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 Holland-style gin is a not undesirable thing).

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.


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


  1. 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.