Hot toddy

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A hot toddy
Information board highlighting the hot toddy at "Ye Olde Red Cow pub" in London

A hot toddy, also known as hot whisky in Scotland, is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with honey (or, in some recipes, sugar), herbs (such as tea) and spices, and served hot.[1] Hot toddy recipes vary and are traditionally drunk before retiring for the night, or in wet or cold weather. Some believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu—in How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes the drink as "the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb." In recipes used to help with a cold, tea and honey are often used with lemon juice and whiskey. [2]


A hot toddy is a mixture of a spirit (usually whisky), hot water, and honey (or, in some recipes, sugar). In Canada, maple syrup is used. Additional ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form) are often also added. The drink can also be made with tea instead of water.[3]

A common version in the Midwestern United States uses golden ginger ale, lemon, honey and Bourbon whiskey.[citation needed] In Wisconsin, brandy is often used instead of bourbon.[4]


The word toddy comes from the toddy drink in India, produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees. Its earliest known use to mean "a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices" is from 1786.[5] However, a few other sources credit Robert Bentley Todd for his prescription of a hot drink of brandy, canella (white cinnamon), sugar syrup, and water.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of Hot Toddy". Princeton WordNet. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  2. ^ Nigel Slater (March 12, 2011). "Nigel Slater's classic hot toddy recipe". The Guardian. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  3. ^ Poister, John H. (1999). The New American Bartenders Guide (2nd ed.). Signet Reference. p. 612. ISBN 0-451-19782-8.
  4. ^ "Wisconsin Winter Toddy". Princeton WordNet. Archived from the original on 23 November 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  5. ^ "toddy". Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Lyons, Paddy (2013). Romantic Ireland: From Tone to Gonne. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 9781443853583.
  • MacKay, Charles. A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch (1888)