Hot Toddy

Perfect for chilly afternoons, this easy hot toddy recipe is the only excuse you need to curl up in a blanket. Made with apple liqueur, honey, and lemon juice, this warm cocktail is sure to become your new favorite.

Two hot toddy recipes in glasses with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

The Best Hot Toddy Recipe

With fall right around the corner, this hot toddy is the perfect excuse to cozy up and say hello to the holiday season. Served with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer, this naturally sweetened cocktail with apple liqueur is the only drink you’ll be sipping on.

Don’t worry if you’re not a bar master! This is a stir-and-serve recipe. Honey adds richness and depth while a splash of lemon juice adds the right amount of tartness. The main star, however, is the apple liqueur. To increase the fall-goodness, you can even swap the water for apple cider.

Served flat or fizzy, with or without booze, this hot toddy recipe will become your new favorite holiday cocktail. Who can resist a warm 10-minute cocktail on a chilly night? Not me!

Why You’ll Love This Apple Hot Toddy

Everyone loves a good cocktail and this simple hot toddy won’t be the exception.

  • Homemade. This is perfect for when you want a relaxing night in with a warm, boozy drink. You’ll never have to go to another bar for a hot toddy again.
  • Festive. Something about apple liqueur, honey, and cinnamon just screams “holiday season”. Serve it at your next gathering and watch it become everyone’s new favorite fall cocktail.
  • Family-friendly. My original recipe includes alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave it out so the little ones can enjoy a booze-free hot toddy.
  • Comforting. It’s like your favorite hot drink, except it hits the spot much better after a long day and helps you wind down because it’s got just the right amount of liqueur.

What Is A Hot Toddy?

A hot toddy is a classic hot cocktail. It’s made with a liqueur, a bit of water, lemon juice, and is sweetened with honey. Additional herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, or cinnamon sticks can be added for extra flavor. There are different variations of it, like this apple one, or peach or coffee hot toddys. It’s a common evening drink on chilly nights throughout fall and winter. It’s even rumored to help with colds.

Recipe Ingredients

What’s a hot toddy without apple liqueur?! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Water
  • Raw honey – Maple and agave syrup are great too.
  • Fresh lemon juice – Lime juice is a good swap.
  • Apple liqueur – I used Berentzen, but feel free to use your favorite!
  • Cinnamon sticks – Please don’t use ground cinnamon.

How To Make A Hot Toddy

If you can boil water, you’ve already nailed this apple hot toddy. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Boil the water. Add water to a small pot and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Sweeten it. Stir in the honey until it’s completely dissolved.
  • Add the liqueur. Stir in the lemon juice and apple liqueur.
  • Serve. Add a cinnamon stick to each serving glass. Pour in the hot cocktail and enjoy.

Tips & Variations

These tips will make your drink fruitier, sweeter, and get you into the holiday spirit. Apply them to any hot toddy recipe.

  • Make it fizzy. Topping the glass with a bit of soda water will make it fizzy.
  • Add more fruit. Sliced apples, peaches, and berries add extra fruitiness to each sip.
  • Change the booze. Using whiskey or bourbon instead of apple liqueur is just as yummy.
  • Use brown sugar. This is a good sweetener option as long as you stir really well until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Swap the garnish. Lemon and orange twists are great garnish options when you don’t want to use cinnamon sticks.
  • Add extract. 1-2 drops of peppermint extract can give the recipe a holiday twist.
  • Make it family-friendly. Leave out the liqueur and swap it for apple juice or apple cider for an alcohol-free toddy.
  • Use the microwave. If you’re too tired to use the stove, “boil” your water in a microwave-safe bowl for 4-5 minutes.

Do Hot Toddys Really Help With A Cold?

Hot toddys are considered a home remedy, but there isn’t any medical evidence supporting that they actually help with colds. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t ease the symptoms. For example, warm drinks always help with sore throats. The honey in the recipe is a natural cough-suppressant. Alcohol is also good for relieving nasal congestion. Overall, several ingredients in hot toddys can help but they’re not scientifically proven to be a proper cure.

Serving Suggestions

The cinnamon stick is a nice stirrer but it also adds warmth and spice. Don’t serve it without one! This recipe makes a great afternoon drink on its own, but why not add a couple of sweet snacks on the side to make it better? You can serve a platter of Gingersnap Cookies or Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies for added holiday flavors.

More Fall Cocktail Recipes

Two hot toddy recipes in glasses with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

Hot Toddy

This 10-minute hot toddy with apple liqueur and a cinnamon stick is packed with holiday vibes. It'll be your new favorite warm cocktail!
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups apple liqueur
  • 8 3- inch cinnamon sticks


  • In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and apple brandy.
  • Set a cinnamon stick in each of 8 mugs or heatproof glasses, pour in the hot liquid and serve.
Course: Cocktail, Drinks
Cuisine: American


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