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warm cocktail in a glass with a lemon wheel garnish, spoon and lemons
Quarantoddy – a hot toddy for the times

We’ve all heard of the quarantini by now, but how about something a little more comforting to soothe the throat and help boost the immune system, like a Quarantoddy. This take on a hot toddy will get us through the evenings, or the afternoons, or the mornings. It will get us through.

The hot toddy in its most basic form consists of hot water, lemon, honey and whiskey. It’s a supremely simple cocktail, and one that’s a comfort food at my house in the winter. On cold days, or hard, dreary days, I’ll reach to a hot toddy for a couple of reasons. 1) It’s a warm drink, and easy to sip slowly. 2) The aroma of both honey and whiskey together with a little of that citrus is comforting and uplifting all the at the same time. 3) Its warmth comes from both the hot drink and the whiskey within, so it’s a great way to get and stay warm.

Quarantoddy - tea pot pouring tea into a glass
Quarantoddy – a hot toddy for the times

For me, I like to play around with the base of the hot toddy. I’ll often use a tea as I do here because it expands the flavor. But if you don’t have tea on hand you can easily substitute hot water as the base for the cocktail.

It’s important to me that people make cocktails that they enjoy, and changing out the base of this cocktail can really dress it us as something that you personalize. Fan of Earl Grey tea? Swap out the hot water for Earl Grey. Fan of chai tea? It’s one of my favorite toddy bases. My best friend doesn’t like honey, so she can make hers with agave or maple syrup. There’s a lot of flexibility with the toddy, so go ahead and make it yours.

warm cocktail in a glass with a lemon wheel garnish, spoon and lemons
Quarantoddy – a hot toddy for the times

Now, because you add room temperature whiskey, lemon juice and honey to the hot water, the drink won’t stay warm long unless you heat up the mug first. At home, I often fill the mug with water, and heat it up to boiling in the microwave and let it sit for a few minutes while I gather what I need to create the toddy.

So here are your steps:
1) Warm the toddy mug
2) Gather your lemon juice, honey and hot water or tea
3) Build the cocktail in the glass
4) Sit with a glorious book or movie

If you don’t have cloves to use to make fancy studded lemon wheel, use a cinnamon stick or star anise. One trick is to roll the stick or star in your hand for about 20-30 seconds to warm it up. That releases more of the essential oils from the garnish so that the aroma is more evident.

warm cocktail in a glass with a lemon wheel garnish, spoon and lemons


Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Stuck inside with all the craziness in the world right now? As long as you have a bottle of whiskey, a little honey and some lemon you've got a toddy on the way. It's a traditional southern drink for soothing sore throats and it's easy to personalize with your favorite tea.
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Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail, whiskey cocktail
Servings 1


  • 1.5 oz bourbon or rye whiskey You can use any whiskey, and you can increase the amount to 2 or 2.5 ounces depending on the size of your mug.
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey Because this is made with hot tea, you don't need to make the honey into a honey simple syrup to use it in the cocktail.
  • 4-6 oz very hot tea (I use peach or ginger tea) You can also use boiling water to create the drink.
  • 8 oz boiling water
  • Garnish: lemon wheel with cloves and/or cinnamon stick.


  • Fill the mug with hot boiling water and set aside to warm for about 3 minutes while you gather the other ingredients.
  • Empty the mug and add the whiskey, lemon juice, honey and tea. Give the drink a stir with a spoon and check the proportions. Add lemon and honey to taste, or increase the whiskey amount. Float a garnished lemon wheel on top and warm yourself up with the best way to quarantoddy.
Keyword bourbon cocktail, honey, hot toddy, lemon
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By on March 19th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.

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