Our Top Whiskey Picks for Your Winter Hot Toddy

In cold weather, nothing beats a traditional hot toddy. The ingredients are straightforward: just whisky, honey, lemon juice, and hot water. The flavor of a Hot Toddy can be greatly improved by using high-quality whisky, although there are many alternative ways to make this beverage.

The British ruled India in the 1610s when it is thought to have first appeared. The word “daddy,” in Hindi, means “fermented palm sap drink,” which is where the name of the beverage originates. The term “toddy” was first used to describe an alcoholic beverage prepared with hot water, spices, and sugar in the year 1786.

The hot toddy quickly gained popularity as a way to combat the chill of winter evenings, and it continues to this day to be a traditional drink during the season.

The Components of a Hot Toddy

A hot or warm cocktail is comforting when you have a cold because of the ingredients used to make it. Whisky, lemon juice, honey, and hot tea combine to form a hot toddy. Whisky has anti-inflammatory and mucus-dilating properties.

Some research suggests that the presence of vitamin C-rich ingredients like lemon can reduce the duration of a cold. A sore throat can be soothed with a hot cup of tea and some honey. There is no scientific evidence to back the claim that a hot toddy will genuinely cure a cold, but these are the beliefs behind why it helps you feel a bit better during a cold. Hot toddies, however, may offer some relief from cold and flu symptoms like congestion, a sore throat, and coughing.

Whisky That Works Best in a Hot Toddy

The vast array of whiskies on store shelves sometimes make it difficult to zero down on the perfect bottle. Knowing the different types of whisky and the flavors they impart might help you choose the right whiskey. If you want your mixed drinks on the sweeter side, bourbon is the way to go. However, rye is an excellent choice if you enjoy beverages with a bit of heat. While scotch may seem out of place in a hot toddy, its earthy, smoky notes are appreciated by many.

Bourbon is the most popular choice for this and other whisky cocktails. given that bourbon is less likely to act as a flavor mask in a mixed cocktail. Bourbon is a fantastic choice for individuals seeking a balanced and flavorful beverage.

The following are examples of fine whiskeys that work well in a hot toddy:

  • Bulleit Bourbon: Smooth and mild in flavor, Bulleit Bourbon is a well-liked variety of whisky. It is a flexible spirit that can be drunk alone or combined into a variety of beverages. The other flavours complement the smooth whisky flavor perfectly, providing a soothing and satisfying drink. A hot toddy made with Bulleit Bourbon is always a hit, whether you’re sipping it by the fire on a chilly night or sipping it in the middle of summer.
  • The Four Roses Bourbon: This has a vanilla and oak flavor profile and a medium body. Its sugary taste counteracts the lemon’s sourness. It’s created with 10 various herbs and spices that go perfectly with the hot toddy, such as orange peel, cardamom, and cloves.
  • Knob Creek Bourbon: The smoothness of the lemon and the depth of flavor from the bourbon make for a well-balanced cocktail.

Rye Whiskey In Your Hot Toddy

There are many excellent rye whiskies available, but a hot toddy calls for one with a more robust profile. This will work well with the honey and lemon to balance out their respective sweetness and sourness.

Try to get a rye whisky with hints of clove and cinnamon; these spices will go well with the other ingredients and help smooth out the drink’s overall flavor.

  • Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Whisky: This is fantastic in a hot toddy because of the depth of flavor it imparts. The rye’s distinctive spiciness is present, although it is more reminiscent of traditional seasonal spices than of black pepper. If you’re trying to expand your rye whisky horizons or are just starting, this is the bottle for you. Even when warmed, the whiskey’s silky aftertaste makes it enjoyable to sip.

Whiskey’s Proof is Something Else to Think About

The flavor of rye varies according to its proof, with higher-proof rye having a more prominent flavor than lower-proof rye. Considering these elements, High West Double Rye Whisky stands out as a Rye that works particularly well in a hot toddy. The ryes in this whisky range in age from two to eight years, resulting in a smooth spirit with a nice balance of spice and sweetness. In addition, its high proof of 92 makes it an excellent acidic counterpoint to honey and lemon.

Most people automatically think of bourbon or rye whisky when they hear the phrase “hot toddy.” Both types of whisky complement the sweet and spicy notes present in a traditional hot toddy.

Scotch whisky, on the other hand, is an excellent choice if you want to spice up your cocktail with something other than the standard mixers. The smokiness of scotch goes surprisingly well with the other components of a hot toddy, and adding it is a great way to give the drink an extra depth of flavor.

  • Johnnie Walker Black Label:  With 12 years of aging and a 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) content, Johnnie Walker Black Label is a classic Scotch whisky with a deep and nuanced flavor. The blend’s single malt and grain whiskies have all been matured for at least 12 years, resulting in a sophisticated and well-rounded libation. Flavors of rich and exotic dark fruits and sweet vanilla blend into creamy toffee notes, and the finish is characterized by the typical smooth warming smoke found in all Johnnie Walker whiskies.
  • Glenfiddich 12 Years is Another Great Option: Twelve years of aging in bourbon and sherry casks give this single malt Scotch whisky its complex, mellow flavor with overtones of sweet fruit and spice. This 12-year-old single malt Scotch whisky has a fresh, fruity flavor that sets it apart. All-natural, high-quality ingredients are used in its production, and it spends 12 years aging in oak barrels. The whisky’s complex flavor profile, which contains hints of pear, butterscotch, cream, malt, and faint oak, makes it the ideal accompaniment to a hot toddy.
  • Highland Park 12 Years: This is an exceptional single-malt Scotch whisky with a rich, nuanced flavor. Whisky that has spent 12 years aging in American oak barrels and Spanish sherry casks has a complex flavor profile that includes hints of sweetness and smoke. The 12-Year-Old is the crown jewel of the Highland Park distillery’s lineup of whiskies. It has a mildly golden hue and an alcohol content of 43%. Aromas of fresh tangerine, charred peach, and burnt kindling mingle with those of crème brulee on the nose. Heather honey, dried fruit, spice, and a hint of salty sea smoke make up the flavors on the palate, which are medium in body. The lingering, warm aftertaste is a perfect culmination of all the flavors. A hot toddy made with this whisky would be delicious.

Crafting Your Ideal Hot Toddy


  • 1.5 oz of your chosen whisky (options highlighted: Bulleit Bourbon, The Four Roses Bourbon, Knob Creek Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Whisky, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Glenfiddich 12 Years, or Highland Park 12 Years)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 0.5 oz of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup of hot water or hot tea
  • Lemon wheel or cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)


  1. Choose Your Whisky: Begin by selecting a whisky that suits your flavor profile. Consider Bulleit Bourbon for a smooth experience or go for The Four Roses Bourbon if you prefer a hint of vanilla and oak.
  2. Gather Your Ingredients: Have your honey, fresh lemon juice, and hot water or tea ready.
  3. Prepare Your Mug: Warm your mug by rinsing it with hot water. This step ensures your hot toddy stays warm for a longer duration.
  4. Combine The Ingredients: Add the honey and lemon juice to your mug. Stir well to combine.
  5. Add the Whisky: Pour in your chosen whisky, stirring well to ensure the honey has fully dissolved.
  6. Top With Hot Water or Tea: Add hot water or tea to your mixture, stirring to combine the ingredients harmoniously.
  7. Garnish: Enhance the beverage’s presentation and add a subtle flavor by garnishing with a lemon wheel or a cinnamon stick.
  8. Serve: Your hot toddy is now ready to be served. Enjoy the soothing beverage warm, taking in the rich aroma before each sip.

A Quick Tip

Feel free to adjust the quantities of honey and lemon juice based on your preference. Experiment with different whiskies to find the one that best suits your taste for a perfect hot toddy.

It’s finally time for you to craft your own Hot Toddy. Refer to our step-by-step guide to blend the ideal ingredients, including the preferred whiskey, to concoct a hot toddy that not only warms your soul but can potentially offer relief during the cold season.