It’s getting colder, and for cocktail enthusiasts, that means one thing: It’s time for a good ol’ hot toddy. The traditional hot toddy, a steamy mixed drink made with whiskey, hot water, and honey and clove, keeps us warm in winter, helps with cold symptoms, and is basically whiskey-spiked tea time for adults.
Although hot toddy recipes are traditionally made with brown liquors, with whiskey being the most common, whoever said whiskey was the only option was wrong. And as bartenders across the U.S. are proving right now, several other spirits can swap in for that hot toddy fix.
Dev Johnson from Employees Only NYC and Liquor Lab loves using tequila to take his hot toddy recipe to new heights (along with dark chocolate — more on that later), while Dan Oskey from Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis uses apple brandy and sherry to create a warm, cozy concoction. Read on for 10 hot toddy recipes to try with gin, tequila, mezcal, and brandy.
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Gin Hot Toddy Recipes
The Winterized Gin Berry Smash Recipe
Developed by: Anthony Escalante, Bar Manager and Resident Mixologist, Wrigley Mansion
“A nice herbaceous and fruity take on the ever-classic hot toddy is something I consider a wintry version of a gin berry smash,” says Anthony Escalante, bar manager and resident mixologist, Wrigley Mansion. “This involves steeping a nice fruit rouge loose leaf tea in hot water adding a bit of a new western gin (Gray Whale for example) with close to 1/4 ounce of agave syrup and some fresh lemon juice (or just-expressed lemon oils from the peel). This recipe also works wonders if you prefer something more traditional like an Earl Grey tea.”
- ½ ounce western gin (Gray Whale gin works)
- ¼ ounce agave syrup
- Fruity loose leaf tea
- Fresh lemon juice
- Steep and make tea according to your liking.
- Add gin and agave syrup.
- Finish with lemon juice and/or a lemon peel twist.
The Earl Grey Hot Toddy Recipe
Speaking of Earl Grey, this hot toddy features a similar flavor profile as the last one, but has the addition of Earl Grey tea-infused gin. You can use regular gin and Earl Grey tea for a similar effect, or even infuse your own gin.
- 2 ounces Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce honey syrup (2 parts honey, 1 part water)
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Hot water
- Cinnamon stick and lemon wedge for garnish
- Combine gin, lemon juice, syrup, and bitters in a heatproof mug and add hot water.
- Stir to combine.
- Add cinnamon stick and lemon wedge as garnish.
Raspberry Rose Hot Toddy
Developed by: Deer Path Inn
This hot toddy features the addition of notes of raspberry and roses, and is served at the relaxing and historic Deer Path Inn, right outside of Chicago.
- 1 ½ ounces 28 Mile American Gin
- 1 cup of raspberry rose tea
- 1 tablespoon local honey
- ¾ ounces lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients into a mug.
- Garnish with dry rose buds and lemon wheel.
Tequila & Mezcal Hot Toddy Recipes
The Other Hot Toddy
Who says you can’t use tequila in a hot toddy? This adaptable cocktail features tequila and pumpkin spice tea, but you can also use rum and chai tea for a different flavor expression. (Just swap out the agave nectar for honey as well.)
- 2 ounces Fortaleza Añejo Tequila
- 1 pumpkin spiced tea bag
- 3 ounces hot water
- ¾ to 1 ounces agave nectar (to taste)
- ½ ounce lime juice
- Stir all ingredients in a toddy mug
- Top with a lime wheel and/or nutmeg as garnish before serving. (A nice little extra if it suits you is to stir in a small piece of dry or dark Oaxacan-style chocolate.)
Falling for Her Again
Developed by: Dano’s Tequila
The orange liqueur and lemon juice give this hot toddy a traditional taste, while incorporating the not-so-traditional tequila reposado.
- 1 ½ parts Dano’s Tequila Reposado
- 1 part Prunier orange liqueur
- 1 part fresh lemon juice
- ½ part agave nectar
- 4 parts hot water
- Add the tequila, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and agave into a mug.
- Stir until agave nectar is completely dissolved.
- Top up with hot water and garnish with orange or lemon.
Developed by: Daniel Barragan of Cantina Rooftop
A twist on a Margarita, but make it hot.
- 2 ounces Siete Leguas Reposado tequila
- ½ ounce Grand Marnier liqueur
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- ¾ ounce pineapple and ginger syrup
- 3 ounces hot water
- Build tequila, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and syrup in a mug or hot toddy glass.
- Top with hot water.
Oaxacan Ginger Toddy
Developed by: Vamonos Riendo Mezcal
Mezcal is a perfect liquor for a hot toddy, as you’ll still get smokiness and warmth from the spirit. Try this one that features chartreuse and heavy cream.
- 1 ounce Vamonos Riendo Mezcal
- ½ ounce yellow chartreuse
- 1 sugar cube (or teaspoon of white sugar)
- 1 bag ginger tea
- Heavy cream
- Build in a 6-ounce glass. Fill 60 percent of the way up with hot water and add a bag of ginger tea.
- Steep for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove bag and top off with more hot water.
- To garnish, float hand-shaken heavy cream over the top of the drink.
- For an optional garnish, grate dehydrated lemon zest over the cream.
Cognac & Brandy Hot Toddy Recipes
The Little Nell Hot Toddy
Developed by: Exclusive Resorts’ The Little Nell
Cognac (or brandy) has often been used in hot toddies, but whiskey usually reigns supreme. Time to switch it up. The heady floral bouquet in this toddy cocktail keeps it lighter and dangerously drinkable.
- 2 ounces Hennessy VSOP (or XO) Cognac
- 1 bag Rishi Tea’s “Chamomile Medley” tea (or any other chamomile tea)
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce anise
- Honey simple syrup
- Build the cocktail in any insulated glassware or mug and top with Rishi’s “chamomile medley” tea.
- Garnish with a nutmeg-dusted lemon wheel.
Apple Brandy Toddy
Developed by: Dan Oskey at Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis, Minn.
This hot toddy features brandy and sherry and hails from Minneapolis — where they know something about a good warming cocktail.
For the drink:
- 1 ½ ounces Tattersall Apple Brandy
- ¾ ounce honey apple syrup (recipe below)
- ½ ounce amontillado sherry
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 4 ounces chamomile tea (use twice as many bags as standard)
For the honey apple syrup:
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- In an Irish Coffee mug, add the brandy, sherry, simple syrup, and bitters, and top with the hot chamomile tea.
- Garnish with cinnamon stick and lemon wheel.
The Naughty Toddy
Developed by: Catan Pisco
This toddy gets a fall kick with pumpkin and cinnamon, and Pisco — a type of Brandy originating in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile — is a great flavor addition, with notes of fruit and citrus.
- 1 ounce Catan Pisco
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Orange wheel or slice
- Cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup boiling water
For Garnish and Glass Rim:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Apple slices (optional)
- Star anise (optional)
- Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice on a plate and rim glass mug
- Add Pisco, honey, orange, and cinnamon stick into glass mug.
- Top off with boiling hot water and stir until honey is dissolved, and garnish with star anise or apple slices, if desired.