Best Traditional Hot Toddy Recipe with Oranges

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The Hot Toddy cocktail is the creme de la creme of hot drinks. Whether you are at home chillin’ by the fire or you rented a cabin in the mountains, one thing that should be on the menu is a hot toddy with oranges.

The classic Hot Toddy with oranges has one job, and that’s warming you up.

The Toddy’s origins are in the mid-18th century, and the drink traditionally comprises a spirit, sugar, and hot water, perhaps with a lemon peel or orange slices.

In Ireland, they used Irish whiskey. In Scotland, they used scotch. In the United States, they used whatever was on hand—often brandy or rum- and now the cocktail is made with tequila.

Whiskey is my liquor of choice, but again, you may find the cocktail laced with several different spirits depending on the city or country.

A good Toddy has been known to jump-start mornings, cure colds, and play furnace on a frigid evening.

Many people believe that its first use was as a medicinal aid. Liquor was known to numb pain, while citrus and sugar (or honey) could soothe a sore throat.

Take one sip of the hot, comforting cocktail, and it’s easy to see how it has stood the test of time.

Sure, the prevalence of central heating and modern medicine may be more effective than a warm drink, but you can’t deny the life-giving power of a Hot Toddy.

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Sip on a hot toddy or another cold-weather cocktail by the fire—these are just a few of my favorite things to do this fall and winter. 

Traditions like these become much more meaningful when shared with your hubby or gossiping with your best girlfriend around the fire. 

There is something about drinking a hot toddy that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside – whether you like yours with bourbon, rum, or tequila, this hot toddy recipe will keep you toasty this winter.

It is the perfect cold-weather cocktail to sip on when you’re under the weather or want to lounge around on a crisp fall or winter evening. 

Grab a book or plush blanket, and take a social media detox for the evening.  

Here is my favorite hot toddy recipe with oranges and the best whiskey for a hot toddy.


  • Boiling water to fill a mug
  • Four cloves
  • One orange peel
  • Two teaspoons demerara sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 ounces whiskey (bourbon, rye, Irish or scotch)


  1. Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand for a minute or two to warm.
  2. Meanwhile, stick the cloves into the lemon peel or wheel and set aside.
  3. Empty the mug and fill it about halfway with fresh boiling water.
  4. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  5. Add the prepared orange peel or wheel and stir.
  6. Add the orange juice and whiskey, and stir again.

Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel a strip of the orange as long as you can manage.

hot toddy recipe

The Best Whiskey for Hot Toddy with Orange

Whiskey and Bourbon have the strongest flavor in a hot toddy if you make it just right.

The proper whiskey or bourbon will not water down your cocktail; the flavors can hold their own and will not fight against the sweetness of the honey and hot water.

Consider stocking up on these six whiskeys, and bourbons for all your hot toddy needs before it gets too cold to go outside:

1. Uncle Nearest – A bit dry but smooth with a cotton candy-like sweetness. There is an excellent mint flavor left on the lovely palate. There is also more of a caramel flavor with distant notes of apple and hay. Uncle Nearest is one of the best whiskeys for a hot toddy.

2. Jack Daniels Winter Jack -Light with plenty of sweetness. There are hints of dry spice and oily nuts, a touch of smoke. Palate: Quite smooth and soft with notes of banana milkshake, a mixed nut note, and a touch of caramel with crème anglaise. Finish: Sweet with a bit of cereal sweetness and toasty oak. My husband swears by Winter Jack as the best whiskey for a hot toddy!

3. George Dickel – George Dickel’s overproof No. 12 is the hot toddy whiskey when it comes to the Tennessee whiskey category. It’s blended with aged whiskey, clear from the big oak, vanilla, and butterscotch flavors. Just like with Wild Turkey 101, the higher alcohol percentage ensures you will still get a kick after adding in the tea and other ingredients

4. Evan Williams -Rounded, balanced entrance. Suddenly, the briefest burst of exuberant fruit (tangerine again), followed by a green grassy note at midpalate. This becomes peppery on the finish, albeit with an aftertaste of oaky richness. It persists all through the mouth and between the teeth with an off-bitter, lingering, steely flavor.

5. Woodford Reserve – The perfectly balanced taste of our Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit & floral notes, which makes it great for making a hot toddy.

6. Makers Mark – If you like your hot toddies sweet, Maker’s Mark is the whiskey for you. It’s bourbon and has a corn-based mash but uses sweet wheat instead of spicy rye. There are notes of caramel and vanilla with just a touch of spice; the sweetness will stand out more than the spice when you add the tea.

Can a hot toddy help with a cold?

There is currently no cure for the common cold, but as soon as I feel one coming on, I first make myself a hot toddy. I usually manage my symptoms using home treatments and by taking over-the-counter medication, including a hot toddy. 

Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, and both lemons and oranges contain potent antioxidants. Despite this, no research has specifically linked hot toddies to relieving a cold, but they make you feel better.

Many people believe that drinking a hot toddy can relieve the symptoms of a cold, some of which include:

  • a runny nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • fever
  • body aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • cough

Hot drinks are among the most common home remedies for colds and flu.

Drinking a hot toddy always reduces my sore throat, chills, and tiredness so while it may not be a cure it will surely make you feel better and help with the symptoms.

Hot toddy recipe

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What is your favorite cold-weather cocktail?  Have you had a hot toddy, and if so, what are your thoughts?  I would love to hear your thoughts, so comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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