The classic hot toddy cocktail is easy to make, warm and comforting – which makes it the perfect drink when you’re fighting a cold. The apple cider hot toddy is a sweet and spicy variation! Pair it with a bowl of Carrot Ginger Soup, or make enough for a crowd with a cozy DIY drink bar alongside Instant Pot Glühwein and Peppermint Hot Chocolate Truffle Bombs.
Who’s had their first cold of the season already? [raises hand]
My husband got sick and every day that passed was like watching a ticking time bomb. I knew that no matter how much we both washed our hands, no matter how much I sanitized everything he touched, and how long we slept in separate rooms (it’s a quarantine situation once the sniffles appear, my friends)… it was only a matter of time.
I hope you haven’t caught a cold yet, but in case you have – I’m here for you with the ultimate in cold-fighting cocktail comfort: hot toddies. Specifically, apple cider hot toddies. Apple cider toddies? Hot cider and whiskey? Whatever we want to call them, they’re wonderful.
Are hot toddies really good for colds?
You’ve probably heard people recommend hot toddies when you’re sick, but have you ever wondered why?
- The traditional method is to include whiskey, and whiskey has properties for fighting off infections. It will also help ease you to sleep and act as a decongestant, and those are pretty much my main goals when I’m all pathetic and curled up in a blanket with the sniffles.
- Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help soothe your poor throat that’s probably sore from all that coughing.
- Lemon contains powerful antioxidants to support your immune system, and you need as much of that as you can get when you’re laid up in bed.
Oh, and P.S.: Drinking more than one doesn’t double up on its cold-busting powers, so take it easy and stick to just one.
How to juice a lemon
Speaking of lemons, let’s talk about my favorite way to juice a lemon to really get every last bit of that sour citrus liquid.
Start by placing the lemon on the counter and roll it back and forth, applying heavy pressure with your hand. This will help break it down and make it easier to juice! You can also pop the lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds for the same effect – just make sure you don’t heat it to a point of steaming, because then you’re losing some of the juice you’re working so hard to get the most of!
- Slice your lemon down the middle, width-wise.
- Take one of the halves and slice off a little bit of the other end.
- You don’t need to take off a huge chunk, just enough to reveal the yellow flesh.
- Place it in a lemon juicer with the wider part facing down, then press the top down and squeeze as hard as you can – over a container of some sort, of course. Don’t just squeeze lemon juice all over your counter, that’s not going to help anyone… unless you’re cleaning, then just add a little baking soda and you’re off to the races.
How do you make a hot toddy for a cold?
Thankfully, making a hot toddy couldn’t be easier – and I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick I want whatever is the quickest and easiest thing is to make so I can retreat back to my blanket and tissue-covered couch.
All you need are four ingredients and a mug:
- hot water
- lemon juice
- your choice of whiskey or brandy (or even bourbon)
But personally, my favorite way to make a hot toddy is to add one more ingredient: an ounce of fresh apple cider. It adds a sweet and spicy flavor, and really dials up the coziness factor.
Add a cinnamon stick and top with an apple or lemon slice (hey, why not both?) and get to sippin’.
I swear, just having an apple cider hot toddy in my hand makes me feel better already.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- ¾ cup hot water, not boiling
- 1 ½ ounces brandy, can substitute for whiskey
- 1 ounce fresh apple cider
- ½ to 1 ounce lemon juice, to taste
- 1 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
- Apple slice, lemon slice, cinnamon stick or star anise, for garnish (optional)
- Pour hot (not boiling) water into a mug and let it sit for a minute before you prepare the rest of the drink. This will warm your mug for the ultimate cozy experience!
- Add your alcohol of choice, apple cider, lemon juice, honey and stir to combine.
- Garnish with a slice of apple and a cinnamon stick (see other options above), and serve immediately. Enjoy, and get well soon!
- Choice of alcohol: pairing brandy and apple cider together is heavenly, but whiskey will work just fine, too.
- To make a traditional hot toddy, just omit apple cider and increase the quantity of hot water to 1 cup.