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A hot toddy, also hot totty and hot tottie as well as hot whiskey in Ireland, is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with sugar and spices and served hot. Hot toddy recipes vary and are traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in wet or cold weather. Some believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu — in How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes the drink as "the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb"
Traditional Scottish preparation of a hot toddy involves the mixture of whisky, boiling water and sugar or honey. Additional ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form) may be added.
A common version in the Midwestern United States uses Vernors Ginger Ale, lemon, honey and Bourbon whiskey. In Wisconsin, brandy is often used instead of bourbon. In Southern California the version includes tequila.
A common version in Ontario typically consists of heated Canada dry ginger-ale, honey, and either whiskey or brandy. It is often recommended to heat the ginger-ale before adding the whiskey or brandy, otherwise the heating process will reduce the alcoholic effects of the liquor.
It has been suggested that the name comes from the toddy drink in India, produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees. The term could have been introduced into Scotland by a member of the East India Company.