Drinking a hot toddy may not be as innocent as sipping plain hot chocolate, but it's far less harsh then gulping down shots of Scotch. It’s also less potent then a martini, but seems just as civilized.

They’re also darn good to savour around the campfire if you want the winter night to seem less chilled, stars somewhat brighter and friends more pleasant to be with. And, if you dare, they also make the morning air less frosty.

The exact origins of the drink are unknown, but it's speculated the name “hot toddy” came from a member of the British East India Company who extracted toddy, the fermented juice of a particular species of palm tree. Arguably, the first record of the drink is in Allan Ramsay’s poem, The Morning Interview, published in 1721:

"All the rich requisites are brought from far: the table from Japan, the tea from China the sugar from Amazonia, or the West Indies, but that

 'Scotia does no such costly tribute bring,

Only some kettles full of Todian spring."

Todian spring... hot toddy?

photoKevin Callan

The alcohol used in a hot toddy is traditionally brandy, rum or whisky. From that you can add either tea or hot water. Sweeteners such as honey, sugar or syrup are then added. Anything added after that–like cinnamon sticks or cloves–allow you to call the recipe your own.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Ginger Snap Toddy


  • 1 ounce whiskey
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger


Add liquid ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes and then let steep for another 15 minutes. Grate ginger (skin and all) on top.

African Delight


  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Rooibos herbal tea bag
  • ¼ lemon


Coat bottom of camp mug with honey then add brandy, juice of the lemon slice. Boil water and steep tea bag for 5-7 minutes. Poor hot tea into mug.

Chocolate Buzz


  • 1 ounce Irish Cream
  • ½ cup instant espresso powder
  • 6 ounces hot water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 chunk of semisweet chocolate


Add espresso, Irish Cream and ground cinnamon to the boiled water in a camp mug and grate chunk of chocolate on top. 

photoKevin Callan

What are your favourite hot toddy recipes?

We want to know!

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