The Hot Toddy: A Classic Remedy for What Ails You

On a cold winter’s night, a “hot toddy” will definitely warm you from the inside out. It’s an old-fashioned cocktail (of sorts) that’s believed to have originated in Scotland. The original hot toddy recipe is quite simple: honey, lemon, tea or hot water, and a base liquor (typically whiskey). Several delicious variations include things like warming spices and different liquors.

It’s believed that the hot toddy came into being some time in the 18th century. It’s especially popular during the winter months for its warming properties. In Ireland, a hot toddy is known as a “hot whiskey.” Maybe you’ve heard of the hot toddy’s rum-based relative, the “grog.” All of these drinks are incredibly similar and have health benefits, especially when it comes to curing colds.

Classic / Traditional Hot Toddy Recipe

  • 1 ½ Ounces Whiskey or Dark Colored Liquor
  • 1 Tablespoon of Raw Honey
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 1 Tea Bag of Black Tea (Earl Gray)
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • ½ Ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Lemon for garnish
  1. Toss your teabag into a mug, pour in hot water, and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes.
  2. While the tea steeps, take a warm glass or mug and add the honey, liquor, and lemon juice. Stir until it’s mixed well.
  3. Once the tea is steeped, pour it into the glass containing the other ingredients, mix well, add the cinnamon stick and enjoy.

Warming Spices

You can add warming spices to a hot toddy to make it even more delicious and to add extra health benefits. If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s okay; you can still make a delicious warming beverage using tea and the same warming spices. All of the spices below are warming to the body.

  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is packed full of antioxidants and medicinal healing properties. The anti-inflammatory properties help fight infections and repair tissue damage. Research also shows us that cinnamon is beneficial for fighting fungal and bacterial infections. I can see why they include it in hot toddies.
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg is full of antioxidants and various medicinal properties. When we’re not feeling well, we must get enough sleep. Nutmeg can help with that.
  • Cloves: Cloves are incredibly potent, which is why recipes never call for much. They’re excellent for digestion, fighting the common cold, flu, and inflammation.
  • Star Anise: Star anise is beautiful and highly beneficial to our health. You’ll find antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-inflammatory properties in anise.
  • Ginger: Ginger has been used for thousands of years. It’s great for settling nausea, has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

The alcohol in hot toddies isn’t the most beneficial ingredient; however, it does help warm the body from the inside out. If you want to skip the alcohol,  you can make “warming tonics” instead of a hot toddy. Many warming tonics use similar ingredients that warm you from the inside out. Some recipes include a pinch of cayenne pepper, which is delicious and warms you up quickly.

Staying warm is essential during the winter. That bone-chilling cold can cause us to feel uncomfortable, exhausted, and can lead to illness. Enjoy a warming hot toddy (or warming tonic) to help you combat cold weather effects from the inside out!

-Elaina Garcia

Photo by Julia Sakelli from Pexels



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Elaina Garcia is a published writer in various niches. She has been studying and practicing plant medicine and natural healing for 15 years now. A New York native living far from her old home, she lives a sustainable lifestyle in her tiny home! Her writing career began a little over 4 years ago starting at the bottom and working her way up. Elaina is the author of children's educational books and a content creator with work on various sites

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