Make A Brandy Hot Toddy || A Simple Way To ‘Take The Chill Out Of Your Bones’

A brandy hot toddy is a must-have hot beverage to keep in your recipe arsenal during the cold months of the year.

freshly made brandy hot toddy in a glass on a counter

It takes only a few minutes to make. And it is guaranteed to ‘take the chill out of your bones’, as they say.

I had heard of a hot toddy beverage many times in my life, but never really knew what they were until 7 or 8 years ago.

I was working in a little saloon, on the Avenue of the Giants, in northern CA, when I was introduced to them. Many of the locals there considered them a go-to beverage when they felt cold or flu symptoms coming on.

And they were also a pretty popular choice on chilly, rainy evenings in those great big redwoods that live on the Avenue.

I learned to make this beverage from the first person who ordered one. And, after that, I made too many to count.

What Is A Brandy Hot Toddy?

The history of hot toddies seems to be a little murky. I’ve heard that is the case with most cocktails, but to be honest I wouldn’t know if that’s true or not.

I found information stating that this drink showed up in Britain in the 1780’s. And was discovered there by Americans, who brought it back to this country in the mid 1800’s.

The Brits didn’t invent the beverage though. They got it from India, where it was called a taddy.

A taddy was made with fermented palm sap, hot water, sugar, and spices. But the British switched out the palm sap for whiskey, as palm sap was not readily available to them.

Hot toddies in America …

Then, when it hit the Americas, Americans began making this beverage with the spirits they had available to them; primarily rum and brandy.

It became a very popular beverage to enjoy while warming up around a fire on a winter’s night. And the use of it as a cold/flu remedy stuck as well.

Typically, before they added hot toddies to their alcoholic beverage choices, Americans drank mulled wine, wassails, and warm ciders during the colder seasons. These beverages are all very sweet, and therefore not a great choice for a regular evening cocktail.

The hot toddy, in comparison, is much lighter on the palate and quite a bit easier to make. It is a really great slow sipping beverage to enjoy at the end of the evening, or when one is feeling a little under the weather.

It is not a beverage that you overindulge in, it is one that you enjoy in moderation as a means of relaxation.

It’s basic composition is simply hot water, imbibed with an alcoholic spirit, and then lightly sweetened and spiced. The ingredients are versatile, and can be very easily substituted to suit your own taste. The proportions of the ingredients are same.

The Brandy Hot Toddy And Colds & Flus

I am not here to propose the brandy hot toddy as a cure for illness. I do not consider myself qualified to give out medical advice. In our country, it is illegal to even illude to the fact that something can be used to treat illness without a professional medical license, which I do not have.

overview of homemade hot beverages with orange slices

And I don’t believe that a hot toddy is a cure for illness anyway. I do believe that there are things you can consume that will help to relieve, and possibly even more quickly eliminate the symptoms of colds and flus.

That’s why so many people made their loved ones chicken soup to eat, or ginger tea to drink, when they were feeling ill. There are ingredients in those home remedies that help our bodies heal.

And a hot toddy has ingredients in it that very likely encourage healing in the body as well.

If nothing else, this beverage will warm you up and help you sleep, both very good things when you’re feeling under the weather.

And, if you are able to get your symptoms to subside enough to be reasonably comfortable by consuming a hot beverage, rather than taking over-the-counter cold medications, that is probably the way to go.

For me personally, the hot toddy is a win win solution when I feel a little congestion or achy sore muscles coming on. If it relieves my symptoms that’s ideal, and if it doesn’t than I find comfort in drinking it anyway.

Important considerations …

Please note, that as mentioned earlier, it is not a beverage to overindulge in. And drinking excessive alcohol will not help you feel better if you are ill. It will simply dehydrate you, and weaken your immune system, which will make you feel much worse.

Also note that alcohol should not be consumed when you are on medication. So, if you feel ill enough that you have to take any medication, avoid the hot toddies.

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe

The ingredients that I’ve chosen for the brandy hot toddy recipe are all very basic and readily available ingredients.

ingrdients to make a brandy hot toddy

Here’s a list of them for your reference …

  • HONEY – You can use any honey to make a hot toddy. But, it is to your benefit to use honey that is produced as close to where you live as possible. It is commonly believed that this honey carries superior health benefits, as it has been made by bees who have fed from local flora and fauna.
  • ORANGE WEDGE – Grab your favorite variety of orange at the store for your hot toddy.
  • HOT WATER – Avoid chlorinated water when making this beverage, as it lends an unpleasant flavor to it.
  • BRANDY – I prefer an unflavored brandy for this beverage. You can use flavored brandy. Personally, I find them too sweet.
  • CINNAMON STICK – I like to put a cinnamon stick in my hot toddy. But, if you don’t have one, you can simply use powdered cinnamon.

How To Make A Brandy Hot Toddy

Making a brandy hot toddy couldn’t be easier. It is as simple as making a hot cup of tea.

All you have to do is pour some honey in a cup, and squeeze the juice from an orange wedge in there too. Go ahead and throw the peel from the orange right in the cup.

woman squeezing orange slices into glass cups

Then pour in some hot water, and stir it all up, until the honey is melted into the water.

woman pouring hot water into glass cups with honey and oranges in them

Add a shot or two of brandy, and stir it up with a cinnamon stick.

woman mixing a hot beverage in a glass cup with a cinnamon stick

Let it steep for a few minutes, and that’s it … you’ve made a tasty, comforting hot toddy to die for!

How To Serve This Beverage For A Crowd

You can make a batch of hot toddies for any size gathering. And it’s a great beverage to serve to your family and friends when you have them over on a cold, blustery evening.

brandy hot toddy drinks with orange slices

When you’re making it for just a few friends, it’s easier to whip it up in individual cups. But if you’re having a party of 5 or more people, you may want to consider making a batch in your crockpot.

To do this, place all of the ingredients, apart from the brandy, in the crockpot. Turn it on low heat and allow it to warm through. Be sure to keep the lid on the crockpot, as you don’t want the volatile oils from the orange and cinnamon to escape from the pot.

When you are ready to serve this delicious hot beverage, simply ladle it out into individual cups and add the brandy.

You may want to have a few orange slices and cinnamon sticks on hand to garnish each beverage as you serve it. It gives them eye appeal, and one of the nice things about a presenting a brandy hot toddy to guests is how pretty they are.

Variations Of This Recipe

The variations that you can make of this beverage are endless. Experiment until you find your favorite version and then run with it.

a brandy hot toddy in a glass mug

I personally love the combination of ingredients that I’ve presented in this post. But this versatile hot beverage is most commonly made with hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon.

Choose the alcohol that suits you best; brandy, whiskey, or rum. Use the citrus that you prefer; orange, lemon, or grapefruit.

And switch out the sweetener for one that pleases you most; agave, maple syrup, sugar, or brown sugar. When trading the honey for another sweetener, it is important to consider that you are sacrificing a significant amount of the health benefits this beverage offers.

However, if you don’t like honey, if you are making the beverage for the sheer pleasure of drinking it, or if you are a vegan you may want to go this route.

You can also substitute the garnishes you use to make your hot toddy. Apple or pear slices are a great choice. And anise stars and cloves work really well too.

And finally, you can make this beverage with traditional or herbal tea instead of plain water. Consider either black or green tea. Or brew up some ginger or elderberry tea, not only for additional flavor, but for added health benefits as well.

Recommended For You

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freshly made brandy hot toddy in a glass on a counter
Yield: 1 beverage


Cook Time: 3 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes

A brandy hot toddy takes only a few minutes to make, and it is guaranteed to 'take the chill out of your bones', as they say.


  • 1 1/2 c hot water
  • 1 tbls honey
  • 1 orange wedge
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Pour the honey in a hot beverage mug.
  2. Squeeze the orange wedge into the mug and toss the rind right in as well.
  3. Pour in the hot water, and stir until the honey is melted.
  4. Add the brandy and stir.
  5. Add the cinnamon stick.
  6. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 264Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 29gProtein: 1g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 1/10/2023. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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