As temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, there are few drinks more comforting to cozy up with than a Hot Toddy. Though there have been countless reiterations of the winter cocktail over time, the classic recipe calls for warming whiskey, sweet honey, the juice of fresh lemons, and the signature spice of a cinnamon stick. The drink’s comforting and wellness boosting ingredients feel like a no-brainer now, but when did the Hot Toddy become the quintessential winter remedy that we all know and love? Here’s a brief history.
It’s said that the Toddy originated in the 1610’s, in British colonized India. According to Dictionary.com, the word “toddy” is born from the Hindi word “tāḍi” — which means a beverage made from fermented palm sap. When it was eventually recorded as “Taddy,” the term was defined as an alcoholic beverage made with liquor, hot water, sugar, and spices. It wasn’t long before it became common to pour hot water into scotch whiskey, particularly in England and Scotland, to cope with brutal winters. Due to the UK's trade routes with India, the warming spices that are essential to Hot Toddy’s became widely accessible — suddenly everyone was dunking spices into their hot water and whiskey. Cut to doctors allegedly recommending their patients drink the cozy cocktail to ward off winter colds and fevers, and the drink making its way into the American colonies, the Hot Toddy was a go-to winter remedy for the common cold by the mid-19th century.
Now that you’re fully briefed on Hot Toddy history, let’s get into how to make one!
- ¾ cup water
- 1 ½ ounces whiskey
- 2 to 3 teaspoons honey
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 lemon round (for garnish)
- 1 cinnamon stick (for garnish)
- Any other spices you’d like for garnish: star anise is another classic!
Step 1: Bring Water to a Simmer
The Demi Tea Kettle by Le Creuset is the perfect vessel for heating water for toddies and teas. It’s made from a fast-heating carbon steel that retains heat to keep your toddy warm for as long as possible and features the always classic Le Creuset branding that can only be topped by the cheerful cherry red colorway that’s perfect for the holiday season.
Once the water is simmering, pour it into this W&P Mason Shaker. The iconic rustic appeal of the Mason Shaker is perfect all-year round, but it feels especially right when making Hot Toddy’s given their history. This dishwasher safe shaker is super easy to use thanks to its interchangeable shaking, straining, and sealing nozzles, making it a must on anyone’s bar cart.
Add your whiskey to the shaker using our Stainless-Steel Double-Sided Jigger. The double-sided jigger is perfect for cocktails, coffee drinks, and so much more and its professional-grade design ensures that every cocktail you make at home is as good as the one at your favorite bar. The amount of whiskey you add is up to you, but the jigger helps make measuring easy. Use the jigger to add your lemon juice too for added convenience! You can always add more to taste later (the lemon gives the Toddy it’s signature zingy taste).
To add your honey, we recommend reaching for our very own Kaufmann Mercantile Honey Dipper — which easily allows you to dip into your honey jar and add a drizzle to your favorite drinks and dishes without a sticky mess. Made of 100% yellow birch wood, the dippers’ finish makes it waterproof so your honey will effortlessly dribble off instead of soaking in over time. One Dipper full of honey amounts to about 1 to 1 ½ tsps., the more you add, the sweeter your Hot Toddy will be.
Use your Mason Shaker to gently combine all the ingredients and use the spout lid to pour it into your Le Creuset mugs, and add your cinnamon stick and lemon rounds for extra flavor and a photo op. If you want to take your Hot Toddy into the cool outdoors (they make great campfire companions!), the W&P Porter Glass Mug makes it easy. It’s made of durable glass and reinforced with a matte silicone covering, making it perfect for use when out and about. Just give your Toddy a pinch of time to cool a bit before pouring into the cup!
Enjoy! For more festive holiday flavors, check out our go-to cocktail recipes here!
Written by Alexa Morales
Sources: Hines, N. (2017, January 11). [web log]. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://vinepair.com/articles/history-of-hot-toddy/.