Apple Cider Hot Toddy Recipe

When the weather gets cold and the days grow dark, we all need a little treat to help warm us back up and brighten things, too. If you'd like a treat that can do the first in a literal sense — the warming, that is — and the brightening in the metaphorical sense, then this tasty winter warmer of a drink is a perfect choice. Chef and recipe developer Molly Pisula of Vanilla Bean Cuisine has combined two cold-weather classics — spiced apple cider and the hot toddy — into a perfect drink for taking the sting out of winter's chill. It will also help you forget about the drama at work or with the friend group, because bourbon. (Or, as we'll see, rum or another type of whiskey or even cognac, if you're feeling international.)

Having a holiday gathering? Pisula says: "You can double or triple this recipe for a group. In that case, you might want to consider keeping it warm in a slow cooker." And you can make your holiday hosting easier too, she adds, by getting a head start: "You can make this recipe ahead of time by preparing the spiced apple cider, then putting it into the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat [it] on the stovetop or microwave when you're ready to serve, then proceed with the [last] steps of the recipe." For now, let's proceed to the first!

Gather your ingredients for this apple cider hot toddy

To make this sweet, spiced, and spiked winter drink, you'll need 16 ounces of apple cider, 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar, about 5 slices of peeled, fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon stick (plus more for garnish), about 3 ounces bourbon (for two servings), lemon juice to taste, and lemon slices as more garnish.

As noted, you can use different spirits if you prefer, and of course, you can tweak the volume. "Adjust the amount of bourbon in this recipe to control the alcohol content," Pisula says, "as you might prefer it more or less boozy. You can also adjust the amount of sugar — add more brown sugar if you like your drinks on the sweeter side." If you're so inclined, consider a non-alcoholic whiskey option (via Drink Monday).

Prepare the spiced and sweetened cider

Combine the apple cider, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan and put it on the stove over medium heat. Keep in mind Pisula's comment about adding or reducing the amount of sugar, especially if the cider you are using is already quite sweet — too much sugar will throw off the balance.

When the cider begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove the cider from the heat and let it sit covered, for an additional 3 minutes.

Strain, add lemon and booze, and enjoy

Now, strain the spiced and sweetened cider into a large measuring cup. Next, stir in the bourbon (or spirit of choice) and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste the drink, and add more lemon juice if you'd like your toddy a bit more tart.

Finally, pour two servings into individual mugs (or ladle them out if you went with a large slow cooker batch), and garnish each drink with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick.

Why is it called a "hot toddy," anyway?

While there are a few differing accounts as to how, where, and when the hot toddy as we know it today was first concocted, there's general consensus at least about the name. According to Vine Pair, the toddy originated in British-controlled India, where it was named "taddy," which was derived from a Hindi word meaning, "beverage made from fermented palm sap," as defined by Dictionary.com. Vine Pair explains that eventually, "taddy" was officially documented and defined as being a "beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices."

As for why we turn to hot toddies when the weather cools down, just go ahead and sip one the next time you're cozying up on a chilly winter evening and you'll have the answer for yourself, especially if you have a bit of a sore throat. Comforting, soothing, and just wonderful they are indeed.

Apple Cider Hot Toddy Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
Winter calls for coziness, and this apple cider hot toddy recipe will do just the trick. Spiced and spiked, you can even make it in a slow cooker for guests.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
8
minutes
Servings
2
Servings
hot toddies
Total time: 13 minutes
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon slices, to garnish
  • cinnamon sticks, to garnish
Directions
  1. Combine the apple cider, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When the cider begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Strain the spiced cider into a large measuring cup.
  5. Stir in the bourbon and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, then taste and add more lemon juice if you prefer your toddy a bit more tart.
  6. Pour the drink into two mugs and garnish each with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 238
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 26.7 g
Sodium 11.3 mg
Protein 0.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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