A hot toddy, also known as hot whiskey in Ireland, is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with heather honey , herbs (such as tea) and spices, and served hot. Hot toddy recipes vary and are traditionally drunk before retiring for the night, in wet or cold weather or to relieve the symptoms of the cold and flu. In How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes the drink as “the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.
The word toddy comes from the toddy drink in India, produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees. Its earliest known use to mean “a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices” is from 1786 However, a few other sources credit Robert Bentley Todd for his prescription of a hot drink of brandy, canella (white cinnamon), sugar syrup, and water.
A cold toddy is made with rye whiskey, oranges, lemons, cinnamon sticks, ginger, Earl Grey tea, cloves, honey, and orange or regular bitters. It is served with ice and stirred until it is very cold.