Cold Weather Cocktails 101: The Hot Toddy

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Here in northwestern Vermont we just got our first big snow storm that left us 14 fluffy inches of the white stuff. This weekend will see temperatures of -15 F with a bit of wind to make sure you can’t ignore it. While many would say, “no thank you” to such weather, we see it as a chance to get cozy with a game of scrabble and not a lick of guilt about sitting on the couch all day. Later when it gets dark, we make hot toddies and settle in for a movie or some fireplace gazing. The fire is nice, the snow is beautiful, but hot toddies are what really make for cozy evening.

A hot toddy is a drink that is loosely defined as having a liquor, hot water, and a sweetener. There are many variations but we have found that adding an acid, usually lemon juice, makes it more balanced and brings out the other flavors. For several years we have been experimenting with our maple syrups and have found there is a hot toddy for every taste out there. In addition, our friend and mixology advisor, Emily Morton, has given us a few of her recipes that she serves at her joint, The 126 in Burlington, Vermont.

As you can see below, some of the recipes are very simple: booze + honey/maple + lemon + hot water. Others can be more nuanced with tea in place of hot water and additions like bitters for added complexity. The sweetener is where you can really have fun, like adding Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup for a bit of spice, or Lemon Verbena Infused Honey for an herbal earthiness. You can also use our maple-based cocktail mixers which add a lot of flavor with one easy spoonful.

When done right, a hot toddy should taste a little boozy with a sweet and tangy finish. Above all, it should be warm and comforting. Winter isn’t going to let up any time soon but with these hot toddies, we’re okay with that.


These first three hot toddies are examples of very straightforward recipes. You can add more or less maple syrup or honey, depending on your preferred sweetness. Always be sure to leave room in the cup for enough hot water.

Ginger Hot Toddy

The No-Frills Hot Toddy
The Elderberry Toddy

These next few recipes were developed by our friend, Emily Morton, from The 126 in Burlington, Vermont. Emily is a master at finding balance in her cocktails so it is no surprise that her hot toddy recipes are more involved. She puts care into everything she does right down to preheating the mug with hot water.

Handwarmer Toddy
Fireside Toddy
Nighttime Toddy

Stay warm, folks!


Emily Morton, who won Vermont Bartender of the Year 2019, is also a devotee of cocktail history. Want to know the origin of the Sidecar? Ask Emily. Not sure when to use bitters? Ask Emily. Not only is she a great bartender but she is a stirring, mixing, and shaking encyclopedia of cocktail lore.

To learn more about cocktails from Emily, check out our other blogs here:

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