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Hot Toddy - Today!

By Rebecca Davis (Culinaire Magazine Jan-Feb 2015)

When winter arrives and I feel that tickle in the back of my throat reminding me it’s flu season, there is only one remedy: a hot toddy. Four parts boiling water, two parts whisky, one ounce lemon juice, two bar spoons honey, stirred with a cinnamon stick, is all you need for this infamous elixir. 


The benefits of drinking hot water, honey, and lemon are multiple: citrus boosts the immune system, honey is a natural cough suppressant, and water aids in detoxifying the body. While spices such as cinnamon, cayenne, and clove also have healing properties. Cinnamon contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, cayenne shrinks blood vessels (relieving congestion), and cloves have a natural numbing effect. 


The addition of alcohol acts as a sedative, regrettably most of the alcohol burns off due to the hot water, which is another reason you may want to consider pouring yourself a double! All of these parts add up to a winter cold cure-all. 


Traditionally, a hot toddy is made with whisky though nowadays there are many variations. If you do abide with the classic, a nice peaty scotch adds a beautiful smokiness to your toddy; but why not try something new like apple brandy, single barrel bourbon, or spiced rum


By substituting the spirit, you can change the direction of your toddy; spices offer the same variety. Typically, warming spices are used in this pick-me-up, but it is always fun to experiment and try something new. The addition of ginger, lime, or cardamom can add new flavours while still benefiting your health. Some concoctions work out beautifully - other times… not so much, in that case, I’d suggest hiding the evidence.

Classic Toddy:

2 oz whisky, I prefer bourbon but feel free to use any whisky you like

4 oz boiling water

1 oz lemon juice

½ oz honey

1 cinnamon stick


Build directly in mug. Stir whisky, lemon juice and honey until combined. Add hot water and stir with cinnamon stick.


Eastern Toddy

1.5 oz Spiced Rum

1 green tea bag 

2.5 cm slice ginger, peeled

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 cardamom pod

½ oz honey


At the bottom of your mug, muddle ginger and cardamom, add scotch, honey, and tea bag. Fill with boiling water, stir well and let the tea steep for approx. 4 minutes or until desired strength.

Apple Toddy

2 oz Calvados or Apple Jack

½ oz honey

1 oz lemon juice

fresh ground nutmeg

2 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

3-4 dashes hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper

boiling water


Muddle cloves in the bottom of your mug. Add all other ingredients and top with boiling water. Stir well and enjoy!

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