Hot Toddy

What is Hot Toddy?

The hot toddy is a whiskey-based drink mixed with honey, sugar, herbs, and spices. It is an alcoholic beverage that is served hot. Traditionally, this drink was consumed at night before bedtime during winter or the rainy season. The word comes from the Indian palm wine, known locally as toddy.

  • Cold toddy also uses whisky and seasonings but is served cold.
  • National Hot Toddy Day is celebrated on 11th January every year in the US.

The top 6 for crafting a hot toddy are:

  • Wild Turkey 101
  • The Famous Grouse Smoky Black
  • Four Roses Yellow Label
  • George Dickel Superior No. 12 Whisky
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Canadian Club 100% Rye

Origin of  hot toddy

The cocktail was invented in Scotland sometime in the 1700s. The smoky-flavored whisky of the country was already very popular but was not to women’s taste. According to some sources, the cocktail was invented as an alternative for women. By the 1800s, the drink was widely used as a preventative measure or even cure against the cold and the flu. 


Nutritional profile for hot toddy (1 cocktail/116 g):

Because whiskey is distilled in copper stills, it contains copper, which helps in the creation of red blood cells, absorbs iron, boosts the immune system, and protects cells. Additionally, it prevents the onset of anemia and osteoporosis. Whiskey also contains antioxidants, which help in preventing heart diseases. Furthermore, the drink controls urate levels by promoting excretion of urate through urine. This can prevent gout and other uric acid diseases. 

In addition, the spices in the hot toddy have a host of health benefits. Many spices have antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects as well as potential protection against cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. However, overconsumption of alcohol can result in a change in the brain’s functioning patterns, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, heart problems, strokes, different types of cancers, as well as affect overall immunity. It is best to consume this drink in moderation.

Commercial production

A simple hot toddy requires water, whisky, honey, and lemon juice. First, the water is boiled. Then, it is poured into a glass with whisky, honey, and lemon juice, and then stirred. Finally, the toddy is ready!

To prepare a more elaborate version, spices like cinnamon, clove, aniseed, cardamom, and pepper may be used. These spices are added in the boiling water and infused before being strained into the glass. 

Hot toddy recipes

This drink is a versatile cocktail that may be prepared in different ways. Here are some recipes:

FDA regulations

Whiskey does not completely fall under FDA regulations in the US unless it is an artisanal product. Instead, whiskey production has to comply with the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) requirements. There are strict regulations governing the production of whiskey and its labelling depending on the contents. However, the general definition of whiskey is that it is a distilled spirit made from a fermented mash of grain with less than 95% ABV and more than 40% ABV.


Nick Hines, The History of the Hot Toddy, VinePair,

Kat Eschner, The Hot Toddy: A “Medicinal” Drink That Might Actually Work, Smithsonian Magazine, 

Mäkelä, Pia et al. “A bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey? Can the rate of alcohol-induced harm be affected by altering the population’s beverage choices?.” Contemporary drug problems vol. 38,4 (2011): 599-619. doi:10.1177/009145091103800408,

Heart Foundation New Zealand, Alcohol and the Heart,