Classic Hot Toddy Recipe made with Cognac for those cold winter nights or a great comforting cocktail. This recipe can also be substituted with brandy, whiskey or bourbon.
It’s that time of the year — cold and flu season. Or just plain cold. And as much as I love me my wine, there are times when only a hot toddy will do. This is especially true when I’m congested to the point where I can’t even smell wine.
After traveling to the Cognac region of France several years ago I can’t resist making the classic soothing fall and winter cocktail with Cognac. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. It’s incredibly smooth, and so flavorful! But first things first…
What is a Hot Toddy
Hot Toddies are a soothing warm cocktail typically made by combining hot water, honey, lemon, and a spirit such as bourbon, whiskey, or brandy. They are the perfect warm drink to enjoy on a crisp fall or winter night or if you are suffering from a cold, because it soothes the throat, body and soul, helping you to relax and uplift your mood.
What I’ve discovered through years of making hot toddies is the importance of using a good quality spirit — one you are happy sipping on its own. Just as I would never recommend cooking with a wine you wouldn’t drink on its own, the same advice goes for the quality of spirit you use for this cocktail. This is because you aren’t altering the flavor much, but simply diluting it with hot water, sweetening it with honey, and infusing it with a touch of cinnamon.
What liquor is best for a Hot Toddy?
Most commonly you’ll find hot toddies made with:
But my preference is Cognac. If I don’t have any Cognac on hand, I’ll reach for bourbon.
How to Make the Best Hot Toddy Recipe
Making the best hot toddy is simple! Get some water nice and hot. I’m talking near boiling! Once the hot water meets the cognac (or other liquor) and honey it will cool down quickly to a drinkable temperature.
- Start by adding Cognac to a glass or mug.
- Then add the boiling (or near boiling) water.
- Add honey (to your preference, I like to start with one tablespoon).
- Finish with a lemon slice and, if you’re a cinnamon fan, add a stick of cinnamon to infuse flavor.
Enjoy the heck out of your delicious and comforting classic hot toddy! You’ve earned it.
Does a Hot Toddy really work to cure a cold?
Okay, so the truth is there’s no real “cure” for a common cold. So while this may not “cure” your cold, neither will NyQuil. They both work, however, to offer relief to your symptoms, and ease congestion and runny noses. And, while neither will cure your cold 100%, compared to NyQuil, at least Hot Toddies taste good!
Recommended supplies for the perfect Hot Toddy
More Great Fall and Winter Cocktails
- Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
- Mulled Wine
- Smoky Old Fashioned
- Pomegranate Ginger Beer Cocktail
- Apple Cider Mimosas
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This post was originally published in May 2017, and updated in October 2021 with frequently asked questions and more specific recipe details. The original recipe remains the same.
*This post was originally written in October, 2012, and updated in 2019 with new photos.
Hot Toddy Recipe with Cognac
- 2 oz Cognac (whiskey or bourbon work too)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- Pour the Cognac into a 6-8 oz mug or glass. Add boiling water and honey and stir until honey is dissolved.
- Garnish with lemon slice and cinnamon stick.
- Sit on your sofa, cover yourself with a Snuggie, read a good book, and let enjoy this delicious soothing drink.
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