Classic Hot Toddy With Cognac

4.86 from 14 votes
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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.  

2 Classic Hot Toddy cocktails in a glass
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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…

Hot Toddy in glasses with lemon and cinnamon sticks.
Lemon makes the drink. Grilled lemon makes it epic.

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:

  • Whiskey
  • Bourbon
  • Brandy

But my preference is Cognac. If I don’t have any Cognac on hand, I’ll reach for bourbon.

Pouring Cognac into a glass
Start with good quality liquor like Cognac.

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.

  1. Start by adding Cognac to a glass or mug.
  2. Then add the boiling (or near boiling) water.
  3. Add honey (to your preference, I like to start with one tablespoon).
  4. Finish with a lemon slice and, if you’re a cinnamon fan, add a stick of cinnamon to infuse flavor.
Hot Toddy with honey drizzle.
Honey adds a nice soothing 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!

More Great Fall and Winter Cocktails

*This post was originally written in October, 2012, and updated in 2019 with new photos.

Hot Toddy with Cognac
4.86 from 14 votes

Hot Toddy Recipe with Cognac

Recipe for a Classic Hot Toddy made with Cognac. Perfect for a cold fall or winter night or to ease a common cold. 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 drink
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  • 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. 


Note: You can substitute Cognac with Whiskey, Rye, or Bourbon also.


Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 204
Keyword: Classic Hot Toddy, Hot Toddy
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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4.86 from 14 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Excellent! Craved a hot soothing drink for my sore throat and tired of the herbal teas, and luckily found your recipe. I already had a batch of fresh ginger tea made so I used that instead of hot water and it has a bit of bite. Thank you for your recipe! I love it.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! The general name of the spirit is “brandy.” To be called “cognac,” brandy needs to comply with certain legal requirements. The name “cognac” comes from Cognac, France, where the spirit was produced originally.

  3. I love hot toddy. I make mine with hot tea. A table spoon of cognac 1/2 tea spoon lemon 2 table spoon sugar dab of cinnamon. Watch out now. Mr blt

  4. 5 stars
    Ugh drooling. I’ve been making virgin hot toddies since I’m pregnant, but it’s not even close to being as good!!

  5. 5 stars
    There’s something so comforting about hot toddys. I always order one if I have to go out for an event but am feeling on the cusp of a cold. Now that I raise my own bees and am lucky to harvest their honey, I should make them at home, too!

  6. 5 stars
    Too bad Hot Toddies can’t magically cure the common cold! Wouldn’t that be amazing? As always, your photos are gorgeous. I wanna reach out and grab a Toddy off my screen…

  7. How would a little variation work? Take a thimble full (about 30 ml) of Cognac, add a bit of pepper powder, honey and lemon juice. Mix well and add hot water to the mix. Throw in a bit of cinnamon and banish that cold and sore throat. Least it will do for you is put you into a nice slumber and you will wake up fresh and raring to go next morning.