This tea hot toddy has ginger, bourbon, freshly brewed black tea, honey, and lemon for a cozy winter cocktail! It’s great for when you feel a little cold coming on, after a snowy adventure, or if you’re just hanging out on the couch by the fire.

A tea hot toddy with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick on a wood table next to another toddy, a white linen, a cream-colored bowl of tea leaves, a pair of vintage scissors, and green leaves with a window in the background.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a wicked cold that rendered me absolutely useless. I bitched and moaned and pouted on the couch for a full four days. The only thing that could cure me was a giant fuzzy comforter, lots of takeout, and old episodes of Riverdale. Oh, and plenty of hot toddies that my husband lovingly brought me even though I barely deserved it. Maybe it was the honey and lemon combo, or maybe the bourbon was just numbing my throat, but I swear they made me feel better.

Luckily, I’m back to my normal self, but I’m still drinking ginger tea hot toddies because they’re delicious and cozy and all I want when it’s freezing outside. They’re the perfect cocktail for sipping on a chilly Sunday afternoon or after a snowshoeing adventure. Or, if you’re throwing a party, just set all of the ingredients out on a table and let your guests enjoy a DIY hot toddy bar. They’re basically the best winter cocktail, so let’s make one, yeah?

About this tea hot toddy

For the longest time, I thought that all hot toddies were made with tea but turns out they’re actually traditionally just made with hot water. But, I’m deciding to be stubborn about it and just use black tea anyways. Specifically, ginger black tea which adds a lovely spice and might even boost the immune system a bit! Plus, the ginger goes great with honey and a hint of fresh lemon juice for brightness.

Also, I personally use bourbon in this recipe, because in case you missed it, bourbon is one of my favorite things ever. But, you could also use dark rum or brandy if you prefer! Then, we’ll finish it off with a little cinnamon stick action because cinnamon makes everything better.

A side image of a cup of black tea in a glass mug on a bar cart next to a bottle of bourbon, jar of honey, white glass of lemon slices, shot, glass, and cinnamon sticks.

The ingredient list

Everything you need for ginger tea hot toddies is very basic! You might even have all the ingredients in your pantry already. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ginger black tea – I get mine from a local tea shop, but if you can’t find it in stores, you have a few options. You can use a 1:1 mix of loose leaf black and cracked ginger. If you prefer tea bags, you can also use a bag of breakfast tea with a bag of ginger tea. Lastly, you can just throw in a few slices of fresh ginger when you’re brewing a cup of black tea. Whatever is easiest, they’ll all taste great!
  • Bourbon – if you’re not a fan of whiskey, you can also use brandy or dark rum. If you are a bourbon-lover, this is one of my go-tos.
  • Fresh lemon juice – it must be fresh! Otherwise, the flavor just won’t be the same.
  • Honey – I highly recommend using a good-quality honey if possible. It really makes a difference!
  • Spices – cinnamon sticks are my fave but a fresh clove or two would also be delicious.
Two side images; on the left, a woman wearing a sheer white shirt is dipping a tea infuser into a glass mug on a wood table next to a white linen, decanter of bourbon, spices, and a white vase of red berry branches. In the right image, the woman is drizzling honey into the mug with a honey stick.

How to make this cocktail

Tea hot toddies are the easiest cocktails ever. It’s part of the reason I love making them all winter long. They’re very sippable without much effort. Here’s how I make them!

  1. Start by brewing the ginger black tea in a mug for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add the honey and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  3. Then, stir in the fresh lemon juice and bourbon until combined.
  4. Finish by garnishing the toddy with a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon.

A remedy for coughs, colds, and sore throats?

I hate to break this *very shocking* news but I am not a doctor, just a food blogger with a little space on the internet. I am definitely not encouraging you to booze it up instead of doing whatever it is your doctor tells you to do. If you want to enjoy a hot toddy or two when you’re feeling under the weather, just make sure to also take it easy and let your body rest, sound good? What I do know about hot toddies is that:

  • They are well-known as being a great remedy for a cold but they definitely do not cure a cold.
  • Honey is a very commonly used natural cough-suppressant.
  • Hot drinks are excellent at soothing sore throats and clearing out all of the face gunk.
  • Lemon, ginger, and cinnamon all have antioxidants which might help boost the immune-system a bit.
  • Lastly, alcohol mixed with medicine is often a no-go, so if you are already taking cold meds, maybe skip out on the hot toddy, ok?

The best teas

Although I love black tea with ginger, using different teas is a great way to make this hot toddy your own. The options below go great with or without ginger so just use whatever floats your boat and makes you happy!

  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Earl grey
  • Vanilla black tea
  • Chai
  • Chamomile or hibiscus for an herbal option
  • Fruit teas like peach, mango, etc.

Other alternatives

The beauty of this cocktail is that you can basically use whatever you have in your house to make one! Here are a few of my favorite subs for a lovely tea hot toddy:

  • Teas – see above for my list of recommendations. You can also use hot apple cider or plain hot water!
  • Ginger – replace with turmeric or cinnamon.
  • Lemon – sometimes I use fresh orange juice or grapefruit juice.
  • Honey – maple syrup, a spoonful of sugar, or even hot honey is great if you like a little kick!
  • Garnish – add a clove, a couple of mint leaves, or a cardamom pod for extra flavor.
A close up 45-degree shot of a tea hot toddy with a lemon slice and a cinnamon stick on a wood table next to another toddy, a pair of vintage scissors, a white towel, and tea laves.

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A 45 degree close up image of a tea hot toddy with a lemon slice and cinnamon stick on a wood table next to a white linen, pair of black scissors, and tea leaves.
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Tea Hot Toddy with Ginger

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This twist on a classic hot toddy combines bourbon, black tea, ginger, lemon, and honey for a comfy cocktail. I love enjoying these toddies on a chilly night next to the fire or when I'm feeling a bit under the weather.


  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 tsp ginger black tea* (preferably loose leaf)
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice, freshly-squeezed
  • Cinnamon sticks and lemon slices, to garnish


  • Start by boiling the water in a hot water kettle or on the stove. Spoon the loose leaf tea into a tea diffuser or tea bag.
  • Place the tea diffuser/bag into a mug and add the boiling water. Steep the tea for 2-3 minutes. Remove the tea diffuser/bag and set aside.
  • Add the honey and stir until completely dissolved. Then, stir in the bourbon and fresh lemon juice until combined.
  • Garnish the toddy with a lemon slice and a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!


*A note on the tea: If you can’t find ginger black tea, you can combine equal parts of black breakfast tea and cracked ginger. Or, you can just brew a few slices of fresh ginger along with your favorite black tea.
Cuisine: American
Course: Drinks
Serving: 1toddy, Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 18.1g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 17.6g, Calcium: 2mg
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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart