Traditional Hot Toddy Recipe for Winter

by Mama Loves A Drink

The ultimate winter warmer beverage every mama should master!

A Hot Toddy can be interpreted in many different ways and has several different name variations depending exactly where you are from, but it is essentially a hot liquor drink with water, honey herbs & spices.

Not just a festive drink but an all-round winter warmer, especially popular in staving off those nasty cold and flu symptoms in winter.

Is it the same thing as hot buttered rum? No, a common misconception is that Hot Toddy and Buttered Rum are used interchangeably, but in fact, hot toddy by its broad definition is any spirit. Buttered Rum – by its name- is a rum specific drink that requires a separate “batter”. You can see our favourite version of hot buttered rum here.

I’ll be honest, I used to think that hot toddy was one of those comical things my grandma would talk about until I had to spend a winter in England! Honestly, next time you feel the sniffles come along, you need to treat yourself to this and see how you feel!

It’s also a great beverage to serve up around Christmas – making it to our list of favourite festive drinks list!

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Tools you will need for making a Hot Toddy

  • Large serving cup or mug
  • Jigger
  • Citrus squeezer
  • Long spoon

Find all our favourite tools for your home cocktail bar here.

Yield: 1 serve

Traditional Hot Toddy

A glass of hot toddy

This simple make-in-the-mug hot beverage is a winner whether it's fighting off winter colds or a toasty warm drink around the fire at Christmas

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes


  • 45ml brown liquor (eg brandy, whiskey, scotch, dark rum)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of boiling hot water
  • Garnish: lemon wedge, cinnamon stick, star anise


  1. Pre-warm your mug/glass (this can be done by pouring in boiling hot water first, tip out and wipe clean)
  2. Pour all the ingredients into a warmed mug and stir
  3. Add garnish if desired

Variations on Hot Toddy

There are so many variations to the Hot Toddy you can enjoy. It’s really up to you and your liquor of choice – and the sweeteners and garnishes too! Why not try:

  • Spiced rum for that little extra kick
  • Bourbon can bring out some sweet vanilla flavours
  • Black tea can be added instead of just hot water
  • Add a dash of apple cider vinegar
  • In Canada, maple syrup is used (of course!) in place of the honey
  • Like it really sweet? Keep adding the honey until it hits the spot
  • A little nutmeg or ginger can spice things up

Serving cups for hot toddy

Traditionally seen served in a tall glass with a handle, there’s no end to the ways in which you can serve up a hot toddy. Come prefer their favourite ceramic mug, or serving up in a copper insulated mug is also a popular choice.

More Christmas drinks ideas

As well as checking out our complete guide to Christmas cocktails, you may also be interested in our Christmas gift guides for drink-lovers. We cover everything from stylish glassware for your drinks cabinet through to our favourite gifts for lovers of hot mulled wine!

If you’re still seeking out that perfect gift idea or stocking stuffer, pop on over for some inspiration here >>

Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!

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