Spiced Hot Toddy

Author: Christian Leue

A perfect beverage for cooler weather. My version pairs a young Islay scotch with complementary spices. If you don't drink I've included some spicy suggestions below to replicate the experience, as well as some ideas to make it more layered and complex. Enjoy!

Servings size: 2


  • 1 cup water

  • 2 star anise pods

  • 2 - 3 tsp honey (see below for other sweetener ideas also)

  • 1/2 small lemon, scrubbed

  • 3 ounces Islay scotch (I used Ardbeg Wee Beastie, which was perfect)

  • 2 soft cinnamon sticks


  1. In a small saucepan heat the water, honey, and star anise over medium heat until hot (about 7-8 minutes)

  2. Slice two wedges or rounds off of the lemon and then add a good squeeze of juice (about 2 tsp) to the pot. You can add the squeezed lemon half also if you'd like to extract oils from the rind.

  3. Divide the scotch between two mugs and add the lemon wedges and a cinnamon stick. The high toned soft-stick cinnamon is a better match to my tastes, but regular cinnamon sticks will work too.

  4. Strain the hot honey infusion, reserving the anise pods for garnish. Divide between the two mugs and plop an anise star into each.

  5. Relax and enjoy!

NOTES: I've also had great results replacing the wine with verjus, it's just not a particularly common product. If you have some in your pantry and have no idea what to do with it, this is a perfect use.


Variations & Ideas

•• If you don't drink: To the pot add (in addition to the ingredients above) a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean, 1-2 pods of black cardamom, and a pinch of Smoked Salt N8. If a tiny bit of alcohol is ok you can sub the vanilla bean with a few drops of good vanilla extract. These substitutes also play very nicely with scotch and are great optional adds.

• Try subbing a light bodied mezcal or ancestral production tequila for the whiskey. Use orange instead of lemon and Spiced Raisin Marmalata for the sweetener.

• I also love rye whiskey. Follow the main recipe and try subbing in Smoked Cinnamon Maple Syrup as the sweetener.

• Or use your favorite spirit! Email me and I'm happy to offer tailored spice suggestions to bring out the best notes.

• I love adding a bit of tea to the pot as well (this is often considered traditional but I've found conflicting data). High quality oolong and darjeeling are both great pairs. Add a heaping teaspoon at the 3-4 minute mark and drop the heat so that it doesn't over-extract.

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