This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

This hot toddy with bourbon is a classic warming winter drink for cold weather! It’s fast and easy, made with lemon, honey and hot water.

Bourbon hot toddy

Need a warming drink for cold weather? Try the Bourbon Hot Toddy! This one will warm you from head to toe, with a tasty kick from the whiskey. Pour boiling water over a shot of bourbon, then top off with lemon and spices. It’s perfect for sipping on chilly evenings: exactly why the hot toddy was invented in the first place! Here’s how to make a hot toddy with bourbon.

Bourbon hot toddy

What’s a bourbon hot toddy?

The hot toddy has a long history (read about it here). In the early 19th century it was thought to be a cure for colds! It makes a lot of sense after you try it: this drink definitely puts a warmth in your chest and the back of your throat! The bourbon hot toddy is a hot whiskey drink for around the fire in the evening (not really a fancy winter cocktail for entertaining). While it can be made with any brown liquor like rum or brandy, we like it best with bourbon whiskey.

What’s in a bourbon hot toddy? The ingredients you need are:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Lemon
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Hot water or tea

Today, there are all sorts of variations on this theme, from cranberry to run to gin hot toddy recipes. In ours, we’ve used bourbon, and maple instead of honey since it’s our drink sweetener of choice. (Plus, sometimes the flavors lemon and honey together give us a medicinal vibe. Anyone else?)

Change up the liquor!

While the hot toddy with bourbon is most common, you can use other brown liquors. Here are a few different ways to change up the hot toddy:

  • Rum: Try aged rum or dark rum instead of whiskey for a sweeter flavor. Try Rum Hot Toddy.
  • Brandy: Use brandy to bring in notes of dried fruit and citrus. Go to Brandy Hot Toddy.

You can also use apple cider instead of hot water! Go to Apple Cider Hot Toddy.

hot toddy bourbon

How to make a bourbon hot toddy

The hot toddy with bourbon is humble and made for quick and simple preparation at home! All you have to do is:

  • Boil: Boil some water in a tea kettle.
  • Mix: Mix together 1 tablespoon honey and 3 tablespoons bourbon (1 ½ ounces).
  • Pour: Pour in ½ cup hot water and garnish with a lemon wedge, squeezing the juice in as you add it.
Bourbon hot toddy recipe

Ways to step up the bourbon hot toddy: with garnishes!

For this bouton hot toddy recipe, we’ve added some fancy spices since we had some left over from our hot apple cider! None are necessary, but they add a nice visual element and subtle flavor:

  • Cinnamon stick: looks festive and adds a hint of spice
  • Whole cloves: often added to spice up a hot toddy
  • Star anise: completely optional, but adds a nice touch

Star anise is the most unique of these whole spices. It’s star-shaped and has a subtle black licorice flavor. It’s available at most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can also buy star anise online.

Hot toddy

More hot drinks & winter cocktails

If you’re looking for hot drink recipes, we’ve got you covered! And we’ve got a few winter cocktails too.

This hot toddy recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Bourbon hot toddy

Bourbon Hot Toddy

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The hot toddy with bourbon is a classic warming winter drink for cold weather! It’s fast and easy, made with lemon, honey and hot water.


  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) honey or pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup steaming hot water
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • For the garnish: 3 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 star anise (optional)


  1. In the serving glass, stir together the bourbon and honey (or maple syrup). Pour in the hot water. Garnish with a lemon wedge, squeezing in the juice, and the cloves, cinnamon stick, and star anise (if using).
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Cocktail

Keywords: Hot Toddy Bourbon, hot toddy recipe bourbon

More bourbon drinks

Got a bottle of bourbon to use up? Here are a few more of the top bourbon cocktails to have in your arsenal:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.