Hot toddy

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For other uses, see Hot toddy (disambiguation).
A hot toddy
Information board highlighting the hot toddy at "Ye Olde Red Cow pub" in London

A hot toddy, also hot totty and hot tottie as well 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 imbibed 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."[2]


A hot toddy is a mixture of a spirit (usually whisky, rum, or brandy), boiling water, and honey (or, in some recipes, sugar). 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]

A common version in Ontario typically consists of heated ginger-ale, honey, and either whiskey or brandy. It is often recommended to heat the ginger-ale before adding the whiskey or brandy, otherwise the heating process will reduce the alcoholic effects of the liquor.[citation needed]


The Dublin-born physician, Robert Bentley Todd (1809–1860), was known for his prescription of a hot drink of brandy, canella (white cinnamon), sugar syrup and water. This was called a "Hot toddy".[5]

It has also been suggested that the name comes from the toddy drink in India,[6] produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees. The term could have been introduced into Scotland by a member of the East India Company.[7]

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. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Lyons, Paddy (2013). Romantic Ireland: From Tone to Gonne. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 9781443853583. 
  6. ^ "Glossaries: India". Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive. Macquarie University. 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2012. Toddy: palm wine made from the sap of the palmyra palm. 
  7. ^ "Hot Toddies". Conan's Pub. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  • MacKay, Charles. A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch (1888)