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Tea Hot Toddy

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A Tea Hot Toddy in a clear glass mug with a cinnamon stick and a lemon slice.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

When the temperature dips, there’s nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the couch with a blanket and a steaming mug of tea. The only thing better? Spiking that tea with a generous splash of whiskey to turn it into the very best version of a hot toddy.

This twist on the classic warm cocktail calls for ginger tea as its base rather than the usual hot water, which infuses spicy sweetness into every sip. Add bourbon, honey, and a big squeeze of lemon juice and you have the ultimate way to warm up this season.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

What Kind of Tea Goes in a Hot Toddy?

You can use any variety of tea to make a tea hot toddy. I personally steer clear of caffeinated teas, as I like to enjoy the cocktail at the end of the evening — but that’s really my only rule. Beyond spicy ginger tea, here are a few varieties I recommend.

  • Chamomile tea
  • Rooibos tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Decaffeinated Earl Grey tea

What Is a Tea Hot Toddy Good For?

A tea hot toddy provides the perfect respite from a scratchy throat or the winter sniffles. But you don’t need to be sick to enjoy one! I love sipping a tea hot toddy after dinner on a chilly night just because it’s seriously cozy.

How to Serve a Hot Toddy

Serve your hot toddy in a mug to ensure it stays warm while you enjoy it. While a cinnamon stick is an optional garnish, I do love how it infuses the drink with another layer of warming spice. And don’t hesitate to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe so you can serve this hot toddy to yourself plus a few friends.

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Tea Hot Toddy Recipe

Ginger tea is spicy and soothing in this warm, whiskey-spiked cocktail.

YieldServes 1

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    water

  • 1

    ginger tea bag, such as Traditional Medicinals

  • 1/2

    small lemon

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    bourbon or rye whiskey

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    honey or maple syrup

  • 1

    cinnamon stick (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water comes to a simmer, turn the heat off. (Alternatively, use an electric tea kettle and bring it to a boil, then pour the water into a liquid measuring cup.) Add 1 ginger tea bag, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, fill a 10-ounce or larger mug with hot tap water. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then pour the water out. Cut a thin slice from 1/2 small lemon, remove any seeds, and reserve for garnish. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half into the mug (about 1 tablespoon). Add 1 1/2 ounces whiskey and 1 1/2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup.

  3. When the tea is ready, remove the tea bag. Pour the ginger tea into the mug and stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Garnish with the lemon slice and a cinnamon stick if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Loose ginger tea: To replace the ginger tea bag with loose ginger tea, add 1 teaspoon loose ginger tea to the hot water off the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes, then strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer into the mug.

Sheela Prakash

Senior Contributing Food Editor

Sheela is the Senior Contributing Food Editor at Kitchn and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is also a Registered Dietitian.

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