The ultimate hot toddy recipe: sweet and soothing and not to be shared.

Hot toddyI’m told hot toddies are helpful for relieving cold symptoms.  I’ve discovered they’re much more multi-purpose than that.

Bad day?  Chilly day?  Long day?  The kind of day where you literally cannot even?

Drink this toddy and I guarantee.  You CAN even.

…Can curl up in a blanket and drift away on a wave of happiness, that is.

True story: one time I did drink a hot toddy when I had a cold.  It was marvelous.  It was also a new drink to me, one which Ross whipped up when I came home and said, pathetically, “By dose iz stuffee.”  He had happened to see the recipe in Fine Cooking not long before, and thought it would be a great time to try it out.  So I put on my PJs, sat on the couch, and held out my hands expectantly.

Hot Toddy

Oh, that first sip.  Actually, that first whiff, I should say.  Because this drink is not only hot, but also has a fair amount of alcohol in it.  So when I held that steaming mug up to my face, I immediately started coughing, and not that I’m-sick-coughing, but that alcohol-fumes-up-my-nose-coughing.  My sinuses started to clear almost immediately.

Then when I moved on to the first sip, it was so perfectly warm and soothing on my throat.  Sweetened with honey, spiced with cloves, even through my stuffy nose I knew it was delicious.

Ross, bless his heart, was doing his best to take care of me, but shortly after handing me this glorious drink, he made a foolish error.  Glancing over and seeing me holding the mug in my hands, not drinking at that particular second, he came to me and reached out to clear what he assumed was my empty mug.

It was not empty.  In my virus-befuddled state, I panicked.  I looked at him, I looked down into my mug, and I looked back up with eyes wide.

Here’s how I responded to his gesture in my head: “Thank you for offering to put my mug in the dishwasher, sweetie, but I’m actually still savoring my delicious beverage.  I’ll let you know when I’m finished.”

Here’s how I responded out loud: “But… but… boooooooooze!”

I’m not exaggerating this story.  Ross routinely reminds me of my plaintive cry, and the phrase, “But boooooze!” is now part of our vernacular.

So, the point of this whole story is that this drink is really freaking delicious, and you, too, would be upset if someone tried to take it from you.  Sick or healthy, this is a drink to jealously hoard on a chilly winter day.  Better make enough for everyone.

Hot toddy

Hot Toddy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The ultimate hot toddy recipe, sweet and soothing and not to be shared.
Serves: 1 drink
  • 1 fl. oz. honey
  • 4 fl. oz. water
  • 3 wedges of lemon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2½ oz. bourbon
Microwave directions
  1. Pour the honey and water into a microwave safe mug. Squeeze two wedges of lemon into the mug (about ¼ to ½ ounces of lemon juice total, to taste). Discard wedges.
  2. Using a small knife, make three cuts into the rind of the remaining lemon wedge. Insert the cloves into the rind.
  3. Microwave the mug for 45 - 60 seconds, until very hot and steaming. Stir well.
  4. Add bourbon and the lemon wedge with the cloves to the drink. Let the cloves steep a minute or two before drinking, if you can wait that long.
Kettle directions
  1. Set 4 oz. of water to boil in a kettle.
  2. Pour the honey into the mug. Squeeze two lemon wedges into the mug. Insert the cloves into the remaining lemon wedge as described above and reserve.
  3. When the water is boiling, pour it into the mug and stir.
  4. Add the clove-studded lemon and the bourbon to the drink. Let steep and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

I recommend following the microwave directions for a hotter beverage.
Any other type of whiskey may be substituted for bourbon. But bourbon does meld nicely with the flavors in this drink.



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