Chilled Magazine: The History of the Hot Toddy

An article I wrote for Chilled Magazine.

Pretty much the adult version of chicken soup, the Hot Toddy is known to be the go-to drink when you’re feeling under the weather, or the perfect potion to wind down with on a chilly, rainy night. Typically a mixed drink made of liquor, water, sugar and spices and served hot, this comforting classic is traditionally sipped on before going to bed.

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Believed to relieve the symptoms of the cold and flu with its nutritious vitamin C, soothing honey and numbing alcohol, steaming mugs of Hot Toddies are saviors once the air becomes chilly and the days grow dark. While the Hot Toddy is most commonly associated with whiskey as the base ingredient, since at least the 17th century it’s been made with a multitude of different spirits, and years ago, that usually depended on where you were from.

Traditional Scottish preparation of the Hot Toddy involves the mixture of whiskey, boiling water and sugar or honey, along with additional ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form). In the Midwestern United States, a common version uses ginger ale, lemon, honey and bourbon whiskey. In some parts of Canada, heated ginger ale, honey and either whiskey or brandy was originally used to make a Hot Toddy. Today popular variations of this flexible drink include the Hot Gin Toddy, the Hot Apple Toddy, and the Grand Rum Toddy. Read More