Hot Toddy Cocktail Recipes to Beat the Winter Chill
From unique takes on the hot toddy to mulled wine, we round up our favourite cocktails and drinks that can help take the chill off this winter. Photo: Courtesy Empress Gin
Winter is in full swing, and we’re in search of warming, cosy ways to ward off the chill. Traditionally, a hot toddy is just the right medicine for these icy evenings – it even has its own national day of celebration, every year on Jan. 11. Usually made with whisky, lemon, honey and boiling water, the “medicinal” drink has been said to help ward off colds.
There’s a bit of science behind it, but it has a bit more to do with temperature than booze: hot drinks, apparently, aid in the secretion of mucous, which, in turn, can help defend the body against bacteria and even viruses. The alcohol helps to calm the nerves – in moderation, naturally – and may promote sleep, which is a healer in its own right, particularly when we’re not feeling 100 per cent.
Add a bit of armchair traveller adventure (we can’t really go much farther right now!) and try a tweak on tradition with a few winter-warming cocktail recipes from Canada and the United Kingdom. And for those of you who are trying a dry February, we’ve got a no-alcohol toddy, too.
Try this rum-and-coffee–fuelled hot cocktail twist, courtesy of Agostino Peronne, director of mixology for the Connaught Bar at the Connaught Hotel, London, England.
15 ml aged rum
10 ml yuzu juice (can be found at most Asian grocery stores; substitute Meyer lemon if unable to find)
100 ml cold brewed coffee
10 ml cocoa syrup
Combine all ingredients in a pot or microwaveable container. Heat until warm but not hot. Serve in flute glass.
The Diplo Toddy created by the mixologists at Diplomático Rum from Venezuela – a rum with a pedigree and Wine Enthusiast’s Spirit of the Year in 2019 – for a rummy twist on a traditional hot toddy.
1.5 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
1 oz Freshly squeezed orange juice
0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz Honey
Mix all the ingredients in a mug and fill with hot water. Garnish with cinnamon sticks.
Here’s a twist on the whisky version – replacing the spirit with gin. Courtesy of Empress 1908 Gin, which is made in Victoria, B.C.
6 oz chai tea
2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz honey
0.5 oz lemon juice
Garnish: cinnamon stick and lemon wheel
Brew the chai tea of your choice. Add gin, honey and lemon juice to a heat-proof, double-walled or stemmed cocktail glass. Top with tea and garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon wheel.
Apple Ginger Toddy
We love this very Canadian take on the classic, with hints of maple and apple, from the distillers at Gretzky Estates, the Great One’s winery and spirits distillery, out of the Niagara region of Ontario.
1.5 oz Gretzky Ginger Simple Syrup*
5 oz pure apple cider
1.5 oz Gretzky Maple Cask Whisky
Garnish: dash of powdered ginger and apple slice
Add all ingredients to a small pot, and heat over low heat (or in a microwave) until contents are warm, whisking every now and again. Ladle into your favourite mug; garnish with a dash of ginger and an apple slice.
*You can order Gretzky Ginger Simple syrup, which hops up traditional simple syrup with a mix of ginger root and Niagara wildflower honey, online or cook up your own version at home:
Bring ¼ lb ginger (peeled and thinly sliced, about 3/4 cup), 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then gently simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve then cool to room temperature. Makes about one cup.
Spice Toddy (for Low- to No-Alcohol Tipplers)
This take features Seedlip Spice distilled non-alcoholic spirit, from its HQ in Covent Garden, London, England. Seedlip makes three different flavours: Garden 108 (herbal), Grove 42 (citrus) and Spice 94 (aromatic). They are distilled from plants – including many of the same botanicals that give white spirits, particularly gin, their flavours (the makers are Brits, after all) – and is sugar-free and calorie-free.
50 ml (2 oz) Seedlip Spice 94
15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon juice
15 ml (0.5 oz) manuka or any organic honey
Garnish: lemon slice
Build the toddy in a heat-proof mug. Top with hot water. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
And Mulled Wine is having a moment! We like the rich flavour that B.C.’s Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot adds to the classic winter warmer.
1 bottle Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
4 whole cloves
6 whole green cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
10 dashes of angostura bitters
Peel and juice lemon and orange. In a pot, combine all ingredients, including citrus juices and peels. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then take off heat and steep for at least an hour. If you’re in a rush, you can simmer for 15 minutes, instead. Serve warm.