This classic Hot Toddy Drink is a classic nightcap made using bourbon or whiskey, lemon, honey, and hot water, garnished with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. It’s a soothing, flavorful drink that will warm you right up!

This is the perfect nightcap when you have a cough and a cold – just what the doctor ordered! It is like a warm hug in a mug!

Classic Hot Toddy featured image
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox (and more recipes sent daily!)

The Classic Hot Toddy Drink

When I am in need of a warm, soothing drink late at night, this hot toddy recipe is my go-to. It’s so comforting and it always does the trick to warm me up and calm me down before bed. Plus, I love the aromas it gives off from the lemon, cloves, and spices such as cinnamon and anise. 

Even better yet, it couldn’t be easier to make this drink. The trick to making it perfect is to play around with the lemon and honey until you reach the right combination of flavors to suit your taste buds. I cannot recommend this enough for a nightcap to soothe and warm you up from the inside out.

What is a Hot Toddy? 

A Hot Toddy is a traditional warm alcoholic drink that is typically made with liquor (usually whiskey or bourbon or some other type of dark liquor) honey, lemon and spices, mixed with hot water.

They are often enjoyed as a nightcap but have also been shown to relieve flu symptoms like cough and sore throat and helps to ensure a restful night.

juicing lemon

Hot Toddy for Coughs & Colds

Hot toddies have been known to help reduce the symptoms of common coughs and colds. They especially help to soothe the throat. If you plan to use your drink to help with these issues, be sure you don’t overdo it on the bourbon/whiskey in your recipe. The simple combination of hot water, honey and lemon can work wonders!

Alcohol doesn’t mix well with antibiotics or over-the-counter medications. So be sure to be careful if you’re taking any type of medicine. You can still use the hot toddy to soothe your throat and calm a cough, but this one may need to be virgin!

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Great for when you have a cough or cold or to soothe a sore throat
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Perfect way to warm up on a cold evening
  • Full of aromatic flavors
  • Simple ingredients list with many optional garnishes
  • Easy to change up amount of ingredients to suit your taste
Ingredients for a hot toddy

Ingredients/Shopping List

  • Boiling Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Whiskey: any type of bourbon or whiskey that you prefer will work for this recipe. I have used Jack Daniels, Bulleit, and Jameson
  • Bitters – find this by the cocktail mixes, club soda, and seltzer
  • Honey
  • Whole cloves (optional for garnish) – find these in the spice section of the grocery store
  • Slice of lemon (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 star anise (optional) – find in the spice aisle

How to Make a Hot Toddy

It couldn’t be easier to make a classic Hot Toddy. This drink recipe will come together in 4 simple steps, and be soothing your throat in no time! 

  1. Pour ½ cup of boiling water into a mug.How to make Hot Toddy step 1
  2. Add lemon juice, bourbon, bitter, and honey and stir until the honey dissolves.step 2 add bitters
  3. Poke whole cloves into the peel of the slice of lemon, and drop into the mug.step 3 add honey
  4. Add cinnamon stick and/or star anise for garnish. (optional but highly recommend)
step 4 add garnish to taste

Variations & Add-ins

  • HERBAL TEA: Since lemon and honey are common remedies for cold and cough, this classic hot toddy recipe is often used to aid the throat when you’re not feeling well. You could use herbal tea as the base for this recipe to add to the cold/cough remedy aspect of this drink.
  • ALCOHOL: If you order a hot toddy at a bar, you’ll likely get one with bourbon or whiskey. Any type will do for your homemade recipe. If you prefer, you can also swap this out for dark rum or brandy.
  • STAR ANISE: The star anise has a licorice scent and flavor and it marries really well with the cloves and/or cinnamon. This is an optional addition, but it makes for a lovely and festive garnish.
  • CINNAMON STICK: The cinnamon stick garnish can be used to stir the drink. But this is also optional, but it will add a lovely fragrance to this steamy drink!
Honey dripping into a Classic Hot Toddy


  • This recipe will yield enough to fill a standard-sized mug. If you prefer a smaller drink, you can half the ingredients.
  • If you are making drinks for a group, you can easily double or triple the ingredients to make a larger serving.

Storing and Reheating Your Hot Toddy

You’ll want to prepare this drink just before you plan on drinking or serving it.

It can be reheated, but you don’t want to leave it to sit with the lemon slice in the liquid for more than 1 hour, because the lemon will start to turn the drink bitter.

The spices of the drink will also change the flavor over time.

Hot Toddy overhead

More Cocktail Recipes

Dirty Snowmen | Cotton Candy Champagne Cocktail|Rainbow Sangria Recipe |Boozy Popsicles |Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule | Apple Cider Sangria

5 from 1 vote
Hot Toddy square full

Classic Hot Toddy

Serves — 1
This classic hot toddy is the perfect nightcap when you have a cough and a cold – just what the doctor ordered! It is like a warm hug in a mug!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
  • 2-3 drops aromatic bitters
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves optional for garnish
  • Slice lemon optional
  • 1 cinnamon stick optional
  • 1 star anise optional


  • Pour ½ cup of boiling water into a mug.
  • Add lemon juice, bourbon, bitters, and honey and stir until honey is dissolved.
  • Poke whole cloves into the peel of a thick slice of lemon. Drop a lemon slice into the mug.
  • Add a cinnamon stick and/or star anise for garnish.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Related Recipes

Secrets to Quick & Easy Desserts
How to make delicious desserts in no time at all!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?