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rye whiskey, social hour, tom macy, cocktail, classic cocktail

Hot Toddy



  • 2 oz bourbon

  • ½ oz cinnamon syrup - optional

  • heaping teaspoon honey - increase to 1 tablespoon if  not using cinnamon syrup

  • scant ½ oz lemon juice

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters - optional

  • 4 oz water

  • orange peel, lemon wheel and cloves for garnish - optional


Combine all ingredients in a mug and microwave for 90 seconds or so. 

Express the oils from the orange peel and discard, if using. Garnish with a clove-spiked lemon wheel, again, if you like.




Combine all ingredients in a small pot, cover, and heat on the stove until bubbling.   Pour into a mug and garnish.




Combine bourbon, lemon juice and syrups in a mug and top with boiling water.  Garnish.

If you make a Hot Toddy, let me see!  Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.


The Hot Toddy is a drink for making the best out of less than ideal situations.  Not only is it a great method for shoving off winter’s interminable chill, but it the one and only silver lining to having a cold.


The hot toddy has been around even longer than the traditional cocktail. The word “toddy” derives from the Hindu word "tari", which refers to a beverage made with fermented palm sap. In America, people have been drinking versions of these as early as the 18th century and probably long before that.  Which makes sense, since it was much easier to heat something up back then than it was to get it cold - the ice industry didn’t get going until about the 1820’s.  


My Hot Toddy recipe is spruced up with some cinnamon syrup, a dash of bitters and an orange peel. But feel free to forgo those additions and take a more traditional route with just honey as the sweetener, details are to the lower right side of the page (cinnamon syrup sure is nice though!).



Other Spirits you Can Use

In addition to bourbon, rye and apple brandy are also wonderful in a Hot Toddy, or some combination of those three.  One of my favorite blends is 1 ounce of bourbon and 1 ounce of apple brandy.  Aged rum, brandy, and single malt scotch are also very fine options.


Honey & Other Sweeteners

For a traditional Hot Toddy, or if you don’t have/want to make cinnamon syrup, increase the honey portion to a heaping tablespoon.  Raw sugar can also be used.  Darker sugars like demerara work particularly well.  Again, use a heaping tablespoon.   If you're using apple brandy as the base spirit, replacing the honey or some portion of it with maple syrup is a nice touch.

More Heat Options
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