Hot Toddy Cocktail Recipes to Beat the Winter Chill

Hot Toddies

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: invizbk/Getty Images

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. 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 for those who have hit pause on international travel for 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. 


Lemon Noir


Lemon Noir cocktail
Photo: Courtesy of the Connaught Bar, London


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.


Diplo Toddy
Photo: Courtesy of Diplomático

Diplo Toddy

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.

Hot Toddy


Hot Toddy gin cocktail
Photo: Courtesy of Empress Gin


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


Apple Ginger Toddy
Photo: Courtesy of Wayne Gretzky Estates


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)


Spice Hot Toddy
Photo: Courtesy of Seedlip


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.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine
Photo: Courtesy of Sumac Ridge Arterra Wines Canada


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 lemon 

1 orange 

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.