Hot toddies for cold nights

Despite sounding like the stage name of a male stripper, the hot toddy is a classic hot beverage that’s perfect for cold weather. Whether you’re in the damp climate of Scotland (the toddy’s oft-cited birthplace) or enduring a – 30 degree day in Montreal, the hot toddy is the perfect way to prepare yourself for the chilly walk to the bar. Bourbon and tea has been used as a cure for a sore throat or a cold in the past, but doctors have recently noted that the alcohol causes dehydration, which is particularly dangerous if you’re sick. Let’s not forget that applying leeches used to be thought of as a cure for illnesse, too.

Alcohol served hot is a whole new animal. The combination of the fumes and the slight burn in your throat can make for a truly intoxicating experience. While several variations of the hot toddy recommend the use of cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, maple syrup and so on, in my experience hot toddies are best kept simple. However, it is important to use bourbon, not whiskey, scotch, or rum (I would particularly advise against that last one) – and no, Jack Daniels does not count as bourbon. Jim Beam bourbon is available amongst the notoriously limited selection at some SAQs – though it only comes in 40 oz. bottles – so either go big or return to your place of residence. But if you want the best toddy possible, it’s worth the extra money and effort to get the real thing.


  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tea bag (I recommend black tea: orange pekoe, English breakfast, or otherwise)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 lemon
  • Directions

    1. Boil water and allow tea to steep separately for three to four minutes.
    2. Cut lemon into wedges (use one-eighth of the lemon if you want to get technical)
    3. Add honey to your mug first.
    4. Pour in two oz. of bourbon.
    5. Pour tea into mug and stir thoroughly to to dissolve the honey
    6. Squeeze lemon into the mug and toss it in.
    7. Take a sip and swear you hear bagpipes playing in the distance.

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