How to make the perfect hot toddy

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

Warm all your cockles with this delicious spiced beverage that will settle you into a comfy armchair

Just when you think winter has finally floated away on a warm, spring breeze you wake up one morning to a frost covered garden and a tingling in the nose that heralds the arrival of another cold. There are, of course, no cures for the common cold, but there are a few things that can make you feel less miserable, and our favourite soothing solution has to be a hot toddy. The triple-layered warmth of heat, alcohol and spice provide comforting and anaesthetising properties that enable you to put up with wintery sniffles for just a little longer.

Whisky or rum will often be used as the boozy backdrop to a hot toddy recipe, but we prefer the fruity flavour of cider for our cups of comfort, bolstered by a bit of brandy. It’s worth getting a decent farmhouse-style dry cider if you can—the popular sweet and fizzy brands don’t quite have the required oomph for this recipe—but don’t be fearful if you think it'll be too agricultural for your refined tastes, as the spices and honey mingle and mellow to provide a smooth-sipping treat.

 

Ingredients:
500ml dry cider
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons brandy
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons honey

 

Method:

1. Put the cider, lemon juice, brandy and spices into a saucepan and warm gently over a low heat. Don’t let the liquid boil, as this will burn off the alcohol, defeating the main purpose of this remedy.

2. After a couple of minutes add the honey and stir until dissolved.

3. Continue heating for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally for good measure.

4. Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into heat-resistant glasses or mugs. The smell alone is enough to clear the nostrils while the taste will bring a rosy-cheeked glow to even the most winter-worn cheeks.