Hot Toddy: Orchard Toddy

Story and Photography by Heather Wibbels


A traditional toddy is simply hot water, honey or syrup, lemon, and whiskey served piping hot in a warm mug, perfect to curl your fingers around. But when fresh apple cider is in season, take advantage and use that as the warm base of your toddy. A cider toddy with a bit of maple syrup, lemon juice, and a dram of your favorite whiskey is extraordinary, yet easy to make at home.

The trick to a delightful toddy is to make sure the serving mug is hot before you build the cocktail in it. Also, because warming whiskey increases its potency and aroma, choose a lower-proof bourbon—between 80 and 95 proof—so that it doesn’t overpower the cocktail. A bourbon or rye with notes of spice and citrus will yield the best results.

Recipe originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Bourbon+, in the article “Barrel-aged Gins: Your Botanical Gateway.” 


  • 4 ounces apple cider

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey

  • 0.5 ounce of either infused simple syrup

  • 0.5 ounce lemon juice

  • 2 dashes of Hella Bitters Ginger Bitters or 16 drops of Old Forester Smoked Cinnamon Bitters

  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish

  • Apple slice, for garnish


Place a serving mug filled with water in the microwave and heat on high for 1-2 minutes to warm the mug. Pour out the water. Add whiskey, syrup, lemon juice, and bitters, and stir in the mug. Top with piping-hot apple cider. If needed, heat the toddy for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave to make sure it’s very hot when served. Garnish.

Michael Eman
Official Contributor
Kevin Gibson is a free-lance writer who writes for numerous publications, including Bourbon+ magazine, Thrillist, and Alcohol Professor.