This non-alcoholic hot toddy is a spin on a classic that’s sure to warm you up. It’s lemony, soothing, and cozy – making it the perfect drink for cold weather (and cold/flu season).
Grab your favorite fuzzy sweater your favorite mug – let’s make a hot toddy!
Reasons to love hot toddies
Nothing warms your heart (and your hands) like a steaming hot drink from your favorite mug. Hot chocolate, hot tea, even coffee… they’re all delicious, but sometimes you want a drink that’s a little *extra.*
Meet… the hot toddy.
Traditionally made with hot water, sugar, citrus, spices, and an alcoholic spirit, this drink is soothing and flavorful.
But what if you don’t want to drink alcohol? You can easily make it a mocktail!
This non-alcoholic hot toddy recipe is sure to be a winter favorite. Whether you have a cold or you’re just feeling cold, this warming drink will do the trick.
The hot toddy we know and love today has quite a long history. The Hindi word “taddy” dates all the way back to 1600’s India, where it described a hot alcoholic beverage with sugar and spices. The recipe traveled through Great Britain and eventually the US.
Throughout history, hot toddies have been used as a remedy for colds and other ailments. Although there’s not much science to support alcohol as a cold remedy, a hot toddy can feel soothing during cold winter months or bouts with the common cold.
Ingredients you’ll need
By definition, a hot toddy is a beverage made with liquor (non-alcoholic here), sugar, spices, and hot water. Most hot toddies also feature citrus. That definition leaves a lot of room for fun variations based on your tastes and what you have on hand.
- Freshly squeezed citrus juice – I used lemon but you can also use orange or lime.
- Liquid sweetener – I used honey but you can also use maple syrup, simple syrup, or agave nectar.
- Alcohol-free bourbon whiskey – See the ‘recipe modifications section for tips on other alcohol-free spirits to use.
- FYI: Alcohol-free spirits are sometimes made from an alcohol-containing spirit base. The alcohol is then removed during the distillation process, meaning the final product has a minuscule amount of alcohol in it. (In most cases, this is alcohol-free by FDA standards.) If drinking any amount of alcohol conflicts with your religion, values, health conditions, or safety needs, be sure to check the label and distiller’s website for more information before purchasing a NA spirit.
- Hot water
- Garnishes – A lemon slice and cinnamon stick go perfectly with a classic hot toddy, but you can also use another sliced citrus, dried spices, or tea to top your mocktail.
Tips for the best hot toddy (without alcohol)
If you know how to boil water, you can make this recipe. Just add your favorite ingredients and adjust the sweetener, citrus, and spice to your liking.
- Choose the right non-alcoholic spirit – More alcohol-free spirit options are available now than ever! All NA spirits are not created equally (i.e. some taste way better than others). You may need to taste-test a few options until you find one you enjoy. The NA bourbon I chose has cherry and spice notes, which complement cocktails like old fashioned well. It tastes a bit medicinal with citrus, but I guess that fits with the original purpose of a hot toddy!
- Use fresh-squeezed citrus – It tastes way better than the stuff out of the bottle. Plus, you can use fresh citrus to make garnishes!
- Sweeten to taste – This mocktail is easy to modify for your unique tastebuds. Start with a bit of sweetener and add more until you get the flavor you like.
A classic hot toddy is made with whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and hot water. It’s typically garnished with spices like cinnamon and star anise.
Non-alcoholic spirits with spice or citrus notes pair well with the flavors of a hot toddy. Try non-alcoholic whiskey, rum, or even gin.
Imagine a liquid honey-flavored Ricola. It sounds weird, but it’s weirdly soothing to drink.
Not exactly. Most non-alcoholic spirits start with an alcohol base but use reverse distillation to remove the alcohol (ethanol). The final product has a negligible amount of alcohol (similar to vanilla extract or cocktail bitters) but if you are opposed to drinking any amount of alcohol for any reason, you may want to avoid these products.
- Vegan – Omit honey and swap in a vegan sweetener like agave nectar, sugar, simple syrup, or maple syrup
- Sweeter version – Add more honey (2 tablespoons)
- Less sweet version – Add less honey (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon)
- Use a different alcohol-free spirit – I used a bourbon whiskey substitute, but hot toddies can be made with many types of spirits. Try non-alcoholic gin, rum, mezcal, or brandy.
- Other flavor combinations – Just follow the basic formula: sweetener + citrus + spirit + spice + hot water to make your own variation on a hot toddy!
- Different whiskey toddy flavors.
Non-Alcoholic Hot Toddy
- 1 tea kettle
- 1 cocktail jigger
- 1 8-10 oz mug
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp honey or sweetener of choice
- 2 oz alcohol-free bourbon or alcohol-free spirit of choice
- ½ cup water hot
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Get water boiling in a kettle. Meanwhile, prepare any garnishes and gather your ingredients.
- In an 8-10 oz mug, add lemon juice, honey, and alcohol-free bourbon, then stir to combine.
- Pour hot water to fill the mug and stir again. Garnish with a lemon slice and a cinnamon stick. Cheers!
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.