Black Tea Hot Toddy

Black tea hot toddy in two glass mugs

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
217 Calories
0g Fat
25g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 217
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 45mg 223%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 131mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Opinions differ about the origin of the name "toddy." Some believe the name derives from Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, or even Sanskrit. Others believe in a Scottish toddy enthusiast named "Tod" (Scots for "fox").

Whatever its origins—and no one knows with any certainty—it's widely agreed that hot toddies are warming wintertime drinks. Toddy enthusiasts imbibe simply because it's a pleasingly sweet and aromatic wintertime drink. 

The drink can be prepared with hot water, apple cider, or, as in this recipe, tea. But the hot toddy is pleasant, and when we're feeling a little chill in the air, sipping something enjoyable can help you feel just a little bit better.

"This was a delicious, warming, spicy, fun beverage. I used all the optional flavorings, which I felt really enhanced the tea. You can sweeten the drink as much as you like with honey. I used whiskey for the liquor because I love the way it smells." —Diana Andrews

Black tea hot toddy in a glass mug with a lemon garnish
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for black tea hot toddy gathered

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  2. In a small pot, combine the water and spices.

    Water and spices combined in a saucepan for black tea hot toddy

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  3. Bring the water to just below boiling and remove it from the heat.

    Water in a saucepan with star anise and cinnamon, just below a boil

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  4. Add tea leaves and steep for 4 minutes.

    Tea steeping in a pot for black tea hot toddy

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  5. Strain into a large mug.

    Black tea strained with two mugs of tea and honey for hot toddies

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  6. Stir in the honey.

    Stirring honey into black tea with a long spoon

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  7. Float brandy, rum, or whiskey on the top of the drink by pouring it over the back of a spoon.

    Floating brandy over the back of a spoon into the black tea hot toddy

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  8. Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge into the mug.

    Lemon juice squeezed into the black tea hot toddy

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  9. If you like, drop the lemon into the mug for a stronger citrus flavor. Serve and enjoy!

    Lemon wedges floating in two black tea hot toddies

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  • For the tea, a strong Keemun black tea is highly recommended.
  • Keep the toddy warm longer by heating the mug while the tea steeps. To do so, pour hot water into the mug or microwave the water-filled mug for about 10 seconds.
  • Pack the tea and cloves into a tea ball to eliminate the need to strain it after steeping. If you don't have loose leaf tea, a single tea bag will do. Either method also allows you to heat the water in a tea kettle and steep the tea and spices directly in your mug. If you like, keep the cinnamon stick and star anise for added flavor as you drink.
  • Strong, dark honey is an ideal fit for a flavorful black tea, though any honey is a good sweetener.
  • Irish whiskey, bourbon, or a spicy rye whiskey all make great toddies.

Recipe Variations

  • Use agave nectar or maple syrup instead of honey to sweeten the toddy. It has the same richness and is vegan.
  • Instead of a liquid sweetener, stir 1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar into the brewed tea.
  • Skip the liquor and enjoy a hot not toddy.

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