best hot toddy drink recipes

The arctic chill has already set in, and we have the cure for the next polar vortex (and several months of staying inside): a hot toddy. It’s never frowned upon to pour a little booze into your cup of coffee late in the evening, but there are a lot more delicious and complex combinations just waiting for you to try. Here are 11 warm cocktail recipes you should make as soon as possible to combat fall fatigue and ward off winter blues—and stay warm from the inside out.

From a simple glass of grog to a celebration-worthy mulled wine punch, any of these options is guaranteed to cue those cozy feelings.

1. Apple Brandy Hot Toddy

apple brandy hot toddy recipe

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The hot toddy is the quintessential hot cocktail. Boiling water, lemon, tea of your choice, honey, and whiskey are the foundation of this classic winter cocktail, but you can play with the ingredients. Here, we use apple brandy as the base liquor, but you can make other tweaks too: Use herbal tea or any kind of black tea, and trade the honey for agave, brown sugar, or even maple syrup if you want. Get our Apple Brandy Hot Toddy recipe, and try our Fernet Apple Toddy recipe too.

2. Hot Buttered Rum

hot buttered rum recipe

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Our Hot Buttered Rum recipe is rather restrained and only slightly sweet, but you can adjust the sugar level as you please. For something more luxurious, this Hot Buttered Rum recipe is made with a base that includes vanilla ice cream—after you mix it up, freeze it in ice cube trays and simply pop one one or two whenever you’re ready for a drink. Just add boiling water and your liquor of choice.

3. Irish Coffee

Irish coffee recipe

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Irish whiskey, like Jameson, is the perfect choice here and melds beautifully with the coffee and dark brown sugar. Homemade whipped cream is the secret that really makes this post-dinner drink so magical. Serve it with some biscotti for an easy dessert. Get our Irish Coffee recipe.

4. Spiked Coffee with Pumpkin Spice

Spiked Coffee with Pumpkin Spice recipe

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Consider this the nightcap answer to a pumpkin spice latte. If you have time (at least two days ahead) to make our rum-based pumpkin spice liqueur, that’s ideal, but in a pinch, you can substitute a store-bought version plus a shot of rum. Either way, we urge you not to skip the brown sugar whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg on top. Get our Spiked Coffee with Pumpkin Spice recipe.

5. Mulled Wine


If you’ve got a leftover bottle of wine around (or several half-bottles), a big pot of mulled wine is a genius way to use it up. With cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and mulling spices, if you have them, our our Mulled Wine recipe is warm and comforting. If you’re looking for an additional kick you can add some brandy or bourbon, as in this Swedish Glögg recipe. Or try our Mulled Red Wine with Port recipe for a sweet depth of flavor.

6. Wassail

crock pot wassail recipe

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Wassailing is a verb you don’t get to use very often, and it’s appropriate to take part in this Anglo-Saxon tradition while reveling with a mug of hot wassail. Our recipe has apple juice, cranberry juice, cloves, allspice, chopped fruit, and Calvados, the French apple brandy. Wassail is traditionally made around Christmas, but feel free to drink it anytime around Thanksgiving and onward. Get our Wassail recipe.

7. Hot Mulled Sherry Apple Cider

Hot Mulled Sherry Apple Cider

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This batch cocktail is an elegant way to warm up and heavier on the spices than the sherry, so you won’t get such a wallop of booze (unless that’s what you want, in which case feel free to pour another jot in your glass). Get our Hot Mulled Sherry Apple Cider recipe.

8. Smoky Hot Apple Cider with Scotch

Smoky, Hot Apple Cider with Scotch

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A little smoky Scotch goes a long way in lending extra-cozy character to this hot cider with honey and lemon, but the bulk of the booze is a non-peaty whiskey so the overall effect is nicely balanced. Get our Smoky Hot Apple Cider with Scotch recipe.

Related Reading: This Spiced Mulled Cider Is the Perfect Nonalcoholic Option (That You Can Still Spike if You Want)

9. Mulled Hard Pear Cider

mulled pear cider recipe

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Apples may be fall’s most famous fruit, but pears are just as perfect, including in cider. Pick your favorite hard pear cider and steep it with citrus, ginger, and vanilla before stirring in brandy and honey for a sweet, potent finish. Get our Mulled Hard Pear Cider recipe.

10. Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

tipsy hazelnut hot chocolate Nutella

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Boozy hot chocolate comes in many forms, from simply bourbon-spiked to doctored with peppermint schnapps for a minty tingle. We also like the nutty nuance of amaretto hot chocolate, but perhaps even better is the classic combo of chocolate and hazelnut. We stir Nutella right into hot milk for a shortcut hot cocoa that’s deliciously decadent, and spike it with both brandy and hazelnut liqueur. This is a fantastic drink to serve as dessert. Get our Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate recipe.

11. Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry eggnog recipe

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This is essentially a warm version of eggnog, and it makes a big batch, but you can cut it in half (and share with someone else) if you’re not having a party—or use leftovers for French toast and even pie. It’s rich and festive, like Christmas in a glass, but no need to wait for the holidays to treat yourself. Get our Tom and Jerry recipe.

More Ways to Keep Cozy

Crock-Pot Cocktails to Make the Season Merry

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Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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