Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Hot Toddy

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Hot Toddy / Tim Nusog

The classic Hot Toddy has been warming chilly souls and battling colds for centuries. Traditionally composed of a spirit, sugar and hot water, often with citrus or spices, there are nearly as many ways to make the toddy as people who make them. But one bartender has a method you may want to adopt as your own.

Portland, Oregon’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler has worked behind the stick at some of the best bars in the city. He’s known for his updated take on the Amaretto Sour and a DIY grenadine that vastly improves on the versions found on store shelves. He’s also no slouch when it comes to the Hot Toddy.

Morgenthaler’s Hot Toddy employs the bain-marie approach, which utilizes a mixing tin filled with hot water to heat another mixing tin containing the cocktail. It’s a sort of double-boiler concept, with one tin nestled inside the other, to warm the spirits so they release their aromatics. In this case, the spirit is bourbon and it’s joined by allspice dram, lemon juice and house-made ginger syrup. Once everything is heated up, pour it into a mug and top with a little hot water before sipping the comforting elixir.

“I had been served so many warm or lukewarm toddies that I was looking for a way to drink the whole drink hot,” says Morgenthaler. “A splash of hot water alone doesn’t result in a hot drink. The bain-marie is our way of getting those ingredients up to temperature. That’s the secret to our Hot Toddy—it’s actually hot.”


  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon

  • 1 teaspoon allspice dram (or pimento dram)

  • 1 ounce ginger syrup*

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3 ounces boiling water, to top

  • Garnish: orange peel


  1. Preheat a mug by filling it with hot water and then discarding the water before use.

  2. Add the bourbon, allspice dram, ginger syrup and lemon juice into a bain-marie and stir until warmed through. If no bain-marie or double-boiler is available, pour very warm water into a mixing tin. Then in a smaller mixing tin, add all the ingredients and nestle the smaller tin inside the larger tin until ingredients are warm.

  3. Pour into your mug and top with the boiling water.

  4. Garnish with an orange peel.

*Ginger syrup: Roughly chop 8 ounces washed, unpeeled ginger (each piece about the size of your pinkie-tip). Put in a blender and combine with equal parts sugar and boiling water. Blend on high until mixture is smooth, then fine-strain through a sieve.