The Hot Toddy

Hot toddy garnished with cinnamon sticks and a lemon slice

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Steep: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
361 Calories
2g Fat
82g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 361
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 28mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 82g 30%
Dietary Fiber 20g 70%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 358mg 1,792%
Calcium 198mg 15%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 962mg 20%
*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.)

Warm, toasty, and just in time for winter, the hot toddy is a classic hot cocktail that is very simple to make. The basic recipe requires only a base liquor, honey, lemon, and tea. This formula has inspired a number of toddy recipes and is ideal for experimentation so you can start creating your own personal toddy.

Brandy, rum, and whiskey all make an excellent hot toddy. Which you choose will be a matter of personal taste or whatever you have on hand. You can also customize the flavor of tea, switch out the fruit, or sweeten it with whatever you like. However you choose to make your toddy, it can quickly become a new cold-weather favorite.


Click Play to See This Classic Hot Toddy Recipe Come Together

"Usually a mixture of dark spirit, lemon, honey, and hot water, this hot toddy recipe adds a delightful nuance of using hot tea. The tea you decide to use can draw in the spirit, citrus, honey, and even the cinnamon. This recipe is one of the best ‘hot’ cocktails I have had." —Sean Johnson

Hot Toddy Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tea bag black or green tea, or 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 1/2 ouncesbrandy, or whiskey, or rum

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

  • Lemon wedge, for garnish

  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for hot toddy recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Heat the water in a tea kettle or the microwave. Once warm, add a tea bag and allow to steep for about 3 to 5 minutes (or according to the tea's recommended brewing time).

    Tea bag steeping in water in a glass tea cup

     The Spruce Eats

  3. While brewing the tea, heat your mug or an Irish coffee glass by filling it with warm water.

    Water being poured into a hot toddy glass

     The Spruce Eats

  4. Once the glass is warm, discard the water out and coat the bottom with the honey.

    Honey in the bottom of a hot toddy glass

     The Spruce Eats

  5. Add the liquor and lemon juice to the glass, then fill with the brewed tea. Stir well to incorporate the honey.

    Tea added to hot toddy glass

     The Spruce Eats

  6. Garnish with a lemon wedge and cinnamon stick. Serve and enjoy.

    Hot toddy with cinnamon sticks and lemon slice in a hot toddy glass with a handle

    The Spruce 


  • Add as much lemon juice as you like. One lemon wedge is usually a good amount, though you might enjoy it with a little extra citrus.
  • Preheating the glass ensures your toddy stays warm a little longer. You can also place the water-filled glass in the microwave for about 5 or 10 seconds.

Recipe Variations

  • Create a hot gin toddy with your favorite gin. This one's perfect for when you need warming up.
  • Don't feel like liquor tonight? Simply skip the booze and you have a hot not toddy.
  • Agave nectar is an excellent substitute for the sweetener. It will retain the richness of honey and is vegan.
  • Another sweetener option is simple syrup, which is nothing more than sugar transformed into a liquid (which you can make at home). These syrups can also be flavored. Cinnamon syrup is an excellent choice, or you could have fun with the likes of a cranberry spice syrup.
  • If you don't have a liquid sweetener, simply stir in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. The warm tea will dissolve it quickly.
  • Feel free to experiment with your favorite types of tea. Most black and green teas mix well into a toddy, but from there it's a personal preference.

How Strong Is the Hot Toddy?

The hot toddy is not one of those drinks that you down simply to get drunk. It is more of an experience and a way to relax, so its alcohol content may be irrelevant for the most part. However, for the curious drinker, you can expect it to weigh in around 6 percent ABV (12 proof). That's about the same as a high-point beer.