Try this Gin Toddy and you’ll know for a fact that hot toddies are meant for more than whiskey. You may have seen a random rum toddy, but the gin hot toddy is relatively rare, and I’m here to tell you, it shouldn’t be.
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What is a Hot Toddy in the first place?
The hot toddy is the quintessential winter cocktail. It’s hot, it’s sweet, and has a lovely whiskey kick. The classic recipe for a hot toddy uses whiskey as the spirit base, combined with a mug of hot water, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a healthy dose of honey. It’s simple, fast, and almost always uses whiskey or another brown spirit.
But for this gin toddy, we’re swapping out the brown spirits for clear, and to make sure we have a flavorful cocktail, we’ll lean on the floral and botanical flavors of gin as the base spirit. Combined with honey, it’s a delicious spin on the basic whiskey toddy.
Health Benefits of a Gin Toddy
Whiskey was long considered a cure-all in the pioneer days, and taking a nip of warm whiskey when you were under the weather was often prescribed as medicine. Lemon juice, traditional in a classic toddy, bolstered the immune system with additional Vitamin C. And honey has long been known to soothe sore throats and quiet coughs. Even today, doctors may prescribe it for adults or children to relieve cold symptoms.
Gin itself also has health benefits, from antioxidant and antibacterial properties from the superfood juniper berries to the healing properties of specific botanicals used in creating the spirit. Juniper berries have also been shown to prevent heart disease and improve blood circulation, much like whiskey. Those health benefits are just a lucky side effect of such a fun and warming hot gin cocktail.
Flavors in a Hot Gin Toddy
For the best gin toddy, I focused on pairing a gin with strong floral or fruity notes with the honey we’ll add to the cocktail. I used Castle and Key’s Restoration gin. It has lovely floral notes and is created on the unaged rye distillate they use to make their whiskey.
I decided I wanted some color in my toddy, so instead of using ONLY honey as the sweetener, I chose to add some hibiscus simple syrup. It brought a brilliant hue to the drink that I needed on a cold and snowy afternoon.
Instead of the traditional lemon, I used lime juice because I’ve always liked the taste of lime in my gin and tonic. But you can use whatever citrus you have on hand.
How to Make a Hot Gin Toddy
Fill your serving mug up with hot water and set it aside to warm while you make the cocktail. Gather your gin, honey, syrup (if using), and your hot water or hot tea. Add the gin, honey, and syrup together and stir to combine. Empty the prepared mug of hot water. Add your ingredients, and then top with very hot water or hot tea. Garnish with a lime wheel or lemon wheel.
Tips to Make the Best Gin Hot Toddy
- Warm Your Mug. No one wants a lukewarm toddy. Fill your mug with hot water prior to putting together the cocktail so it’s warm for sipping.
- Stay low on the amount of alcohol. If you have a large mug, you might increase the gin to 2 ounces, but I wouldn’t go above that. Warm cocktails strengthen the aromas and flavors of the spirits – and if you go high-proof or use larger amounts of spirit you can overwhelm your senses.
- If you need to, reheat the gin toddy. Depending on the temperature of the syrups and juices you’re adding, you might need to add some time in the microwave. Don’t let the toddy come to a boil, just heat it until it’s a little too warm to sip.
- Use high-quality honey. Raw honey or honey that’s minimally processed often has strong floral flavors in it that will tie to your gin. Use that to your advantage.
- Use hot tea as the base for your cocktail. If you have a hot tea you love that pairs well with honey and the more floral and fruity flavors of your gin, substitute your hot water for that. You can also use a warmed juice, but be sure it’s a flavor that pairs well with the gin you’re using.
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Gin Hot Toddy
- 4 oz hot water you can substitute a hot tea or hot juice
- 1.5 oz floral or fruity gin
- ½ oz simple syrup I used hibiscus**
- ½ oz lime juice
- Honey to taste
- Garnish: lime wheel
- Fill the serving mug with hot water and let the mug warm. In another glass, combine the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Discard the hot water in the mug. FIll it with 4 oz of very hot water, and the rest of your ingredients, including the honey. If it’s not quite warm enough for you, heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Cheers!