The Second Annual Chilled100 Spirits Awards

Drink in History—The Hot Toddy


Have you ever taken a sip of your hot toddy and wondered about the origin of the cocktail?

During the colder months, the desire to sip on a cold drink takes a backseat. Most gravitate toward a warm beverage that will soothe their soul. Enter the hot toddy.

The idea of a hot cocktail might scare some away, but it’s a winter necessity for some. Like most cocktails when they originated, its use was for medicinal purposes. And just like most cocktails histories, a few story variations come up with the hot toddy.

It’s said it originally started in India during the 1600s. During that time, India was controlled by the British. The cocktail was derived from the word taddy. This word translated into a drink made with fermented palm sap. In 1786, the word became officially defined as an alcoholic beverage made with hot water, sugar, and spices.

The British declared the drink as their own, which is why it’s a staple in pubs throughout England. During the cold and damp winters, it became common for consumers to pour hot water into their scotch or whiskey. With time, spices were thrown into the mix resulting in the classic we know today.

The other story begins with Dr. Robert Bentley Todd. The Irish doctor would prescribe a mixture of hot brandy, water, cinnamon, and sugar to his patients when they were under the weather. Although it’s said that Dr. Robert learned the word “taddy” while in India, this type of concoction has been used for centuries to cure an illness.

Regardless of its origin, a hot toddy has become a favorite in the states, with every bar having its own twist. It’s easier to make than you might realize. Here is our favorite recipe for the classic Hot Toddy.


The Hot Toddy

Hot drink cocktail for New Year, Christmas, winter or autumn holidays.
Toddy. Mulled pear cider or spiced tea or grog with lemon, pear, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, rosemary.


  • 2 oz. Whiskey
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 2 tsp. Honey
  • Nutmeg
  • Orange rind studded with cloves

Preparation: In a small pot heat the water, dissolving in the honey once hot. Add in lemon juice and your orange rind with cloves, stir in the whiskey and move to a mug. Garnish with grated nutmeg.


The Chilled 100 Spirits Awards

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The Chilled 100 Spirits Awards

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