While this drink is similar to a cup of tea, there’s actually no tea in it. Instead, whiskey, hot water, and lemon juice make up the actual drink, where star anise and cinnamon sticks spice things up. "The star anise and cinnamon really give a herbal touch to this drink," Musgrave notes. Lastly, a touch of honey adds some sweetness to the drink, making it go down just as easy as your favorite cup of tea. Not only will this hot toddy provide a nice buzz, but it just might soothe a sore throat, too.

Gather the ingredients for this classic hot toddy

Whiskey is the liquor of choice for this hot toddy, and Musgrave notes that "any whiskey is fine in this recipe." Additionally, you’ll need water, lemon juice, honey, star anise, a cinnamon stick, and a couple of lemon slices for garnish.

Heat up the water

saucepan over flame on stovetop

Because this drink is served hot, you’ll want to bring that room temp water to a simmer. Musgrave opts to do so by adding the water to a saucepan, and heating it on the stovetop. This method is preferred, as you can control how hot the water gets — remember, we’re aiming for a simmer, not a boil. You can also microwave the water, or use a tea kettle.

Mix the ingredients together in a mug

liquid and star anise in mug

Once the water is simmering, transfer it to a heatproof mug. Then, add in the whiskey, lemon juice, honey, and star anise. Stir it all up, ensuring that the liquids fully combine, and that the honey dissolves into the hot water.

Garnish, and enjoy this classic hot toddy

top view of hot toddy

As a finishing touch, add a cinnamon stick, and a couple of lemon slices to the drink. Then, you’re ready to start sipping — be sure to do so quickly, as you want to enjoy this cocktail while it’s hot. "This cocktail is perfect for chilly nights in the winter," Musgrave describes. "It’s also a hit for entertaining during the holidays!"

Simple Hot Toddy Recipe


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick, for garnish
  • 2 lemon slices, for garnish


  1. Pour the water into a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Pour the hot water into a mug, or heat-proof glass.
  3. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, honey, and star anise. Stir well.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon slices, and serve.


Calories per Serving 255
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 32.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 20.6 g
Sodium 13.9 mg
Protein 1.8 g