Craft Beer Hot Toddies

Craft Beer Hot Toddies

The Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy, a comforting and soothing beverage enjoyed by many during cold winter nights, has a history that stretches back centuries. Its origins are somewhat mysterious, with various theories about how and when it was first concocted. One prevailing belief is that the Hot Toddy originated in Scotland in the 18th century, where it was initially used as a medicinal drink to ward off the cold and alleviate common ailments such as sore throats and congestion.

The basic components of a Hot Toddy typically include warm water, whiskey or another spirit, honey, and lemon, although variations abound. The warmth of the beverage, combined with the soothing properties of honey and the tartness of lemon, create a comforting elixir that can provide temporary relief from cold symptoms and offer a moment of relaxation during chilly weather. Some recipes also incorporate spices like cinnamon, cloves, or ginger for added flavor and warmth.

Over time, the Hot Toddy evolved from a medicinal remedy to a beloved winter cocktail enjoyed for its comforting qualities and rich flavors. It became particularly popular in regions with cold climates, where the need for warmth and comfort during the winter months was especially pronounced. Today, the Hot Toddy remains a staple of winter drink menus in bars and homes alike, offering a timeless combination of warmth, flavor, and comfort that continues to delight drinkers around the world. Whether sipped by the fireside on a snowy evening or enjoyed as a festive holiday treat, the Hot Toddy remains a cherished tradition that embodies the spirit of warmth and hospitality.

Reasons to Drink a Hot Toddy

There are myriad reasons why one might reach for a hot toddy, beyond just seeking warmth on a chilly evening. For starters, a hot toddy can be a soothing remedy for a sore throat or a nagging cold. The combination of warm liquid, usually spiked with whiskey or another spirit, along with honey and lemon, provides a comforting elixir that can help alleviate congestion and provide temporary relief from symptoms. The steam rising from the mug carries with it a comforting aroma that can clear the sinuses and offer a moment of respite from the discomfort of illness.

Furthermore, a hot toddy is not just a beverage; it’s a ritual. Whether enjoyed alone as a form of self-care or shared with loved ones, preparing and sipping on a hot toddy can be a moment of relaxation and indulgence. It’s a chance to slow down, unwind, and savor the flavors and aromas that come together in the comforting embrace of a warm mug. From cozy evenings by the fireplace to festive gatherings during the holiday season, the hot toddy has a way of bringing people together and creating moments of warmth and connection amidst the chill of winter. So whether you’re seeking comfort, relief, or simply a moment of relaxation, there’s always a reason to reach for a hot toddy.

Do Hot Toddies Help with Colds

While hot toddies are often touted as a remedy for cold symptoms, it’s important to understand that they do not cure colds or treat the underlying viral infection. However, hot toddies can offer some temporary relief from certain cold symptoms and provide comfort during illness.

The warmth of a hot toddy can help soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion by loosening mucus, making it easier to breathe. Additionally, the steam from the hot beverage can help clear nasal passages, providing temporary relief from stuffiness. The honey and lemon commonly found in hot toddy recipes may also offer some throat-soothing properties and provide a boost of vitamin C, which can support the immune system.

Furthermore, the addition of whiskey or another spirit in a hot toddy can provide a warming sensation and may help promote relaxation, which can be beneficial when you’re feeling under the weather.

However, it’s essential to drink hot toddies in moderation, especially if you’re using alcohol as a component, and to stay hydrated with plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Additionally, hot toddies should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment when dealing with a cold or any other illness. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms or if your cold persists for an extended period, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.

Craft Beer Hot Toddies

Some great craft beers to make a hot toddy with

There are many great craft beers you can make a hot toddy with. Mad Elf by Troegs Independent Brewing is a personal favorite. Years ago Anchor Steam’s Christmas Ale was also a fantastic choice. Any “Winter Warmer” that has a good spice blend, and preferably high in ABV will do well for a hot toddy.

Craft beer hot toddies offer a unique twist on the traditional hot toddy by incorporating flavorful craft beer into the mix. Here are a few recipes that could attract attention:

  1. Spiced Winter Warmer Hot Toddy:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 bottle of winter warmer craft beer (such as a spiced ale or barleywine)
      • 1 oz bourbon or dark rum
      • 1 tablespoon honey
      • Juice of half a lemon
      • Cinnamon stick and/or cloves for garnish
    • Instructions:
      1. In a saucepan, heat the craft beer over low heat until warm but not boiling.
      2. In a mug, combine the warm beer, bourbon or rum, honey, and lemon juice. Stir until the honey is dissolved.
      3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or cloves for added flavor and aroma.
      4. Serve hot and enjoy the cozy winter flavors.
  2. Citrus IPA Hot Toddy:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 bottle of citrus-forward IPA craft beer
      • 1 oz whiskey or bourbon
      • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
      • Juice of half an orange
      • Orange slice and rosemary sprig for garnish
    • Instructions:
      1. In a small saucepan, heat the craft beer over low heat until warmed through.
      2. In a mug, combine the warm beer, whiskey or bourbon, maple syrup, and orange juice.
      3. Stir well to combine and dissolve the maple syrup.
      4. Garnish with an orange slice and a sprig of rosemary for a pop of color and flavor.
      5. Serve hot and savor the refreshing citrus notes with a hint of warmth from the whiskey.
  3. Chocolate Stout Hot Toddy:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 bottle of chocolate stout craft beer
      • 1 oz Irish whiskey
      • 1 tablespoon honey or chocolate syrup
      • Pinch of cinnamon
      • Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish
    • Instructions:
      1. In a saucepan, gently heat the chocolate stout over low heat until warm.
      2. In a mug, combine the warm beer, Irish whiskey, honey or chocolate syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon.
      3. Stir until the honey or chocolate syrup is fully dissolved.
      4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings for a decadent touch.
      5. Serve hot and indulge in the rich, chocolaty flavors with a hint of whiskey warmth.

These craft beer hot toddy recipes offer a delightful combination of flavors and are perfect for cozy nights by the fire or holiday gatherings with friends and family. Feel free to adjust the ingredients and proportions to suit your taste preferences. Cheers!

Pints and Panels breakdown of a Hot Toddy (photo and drawing courtesy of Pints and Panels)

Traditional Hot Toddy

A traditional hot toddy is a simple yet comforting beverage that combines warm water or tea with whiskey, honey, lemon, and sometimes spices. Here’s a classic recipe:


  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 oz whiskey (bourbon, Scotch, or Irish whiskey are commonly used)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Optional: cinnamon stick or lemon wedge for garnish


  1. Start by heating water until it’s hot but not boiling. You can do this on the stove or by heating water in a kettle.
  2. While the water is heating, add whiskey, honey, and lemon juice to a mug.
  3. Once the water is heated, pour it into the mug with the other ingredients.
  4. Stir the mixture until the honey is fully dissolved.
  5. Optionally, garnish with a cinnamon stick or a lemon wedge for added flavor and presentation.
  6. Allow the hot toddy to cool slightly before sipping, as it can be quite hot initially.
  7. Enjoy the warm, soothing flavors of the traditional hot toddy.

Feel free to adjust the ingredients and proportions according to your taste preferences. Some people like their hot toddies a bit sweeter, so you can add more honey if desired. Similarly, you can adjust the amount of whiskey to suit your preference for a stronger or milder drink.

The Hot Toddy

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