Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hot toddies for chilly evenings

Like a comforting hug, or your favourite snuggly slippers, hot toddies are perfect for warming up cold hands and feet when coming in from the cold. I've compiled my 6 favourites to suit all kinds of moods and hopefully you'll find the one for you! The chamomile honey vanilla latte is one of my favourites to cozy up to just before bedtime – chamomile is known for it's sleep inducing properties and will ensure sweet and peaceful dreams while the apple mint green tea is less indulgent – for those moments when you're watching the waistline. Hot coco is my take on hot chocolate, made with coconut milk for something a bit different. Of course, always make sure to use fat-free milk to keep the calories down. My homemade spicy chai is better than anything you'll find on a supermarket shelf; you'll have all the spices in your storecupboard already and it really tastes wonderful. The hot butterscotch is for those spoil-yourself moments and makes a great replacement for dessert when entertaining. And last but not least, the classic hot toddy, Gluhwein is a sure way to warm up body and soul and even better when sipped in front of a roaring fire. What are your favourite winter hot toddies?

Photography by Katelyn Williams

Apple mint green tea
Break open 2 tea bags of mint green tea and place in a saucepan with ½ sliced Granny Smith apple, pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon and bring to a gentle simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside and allow to steep until fragrant. Strain and sweeten with honey, to taste.

Chamomile honey vanilla latte
Brew ½ a pot of strong chamomile tea made with two tea bags. Heat 300ml of fat-free milk with a vanilla pod or few drops of vanilla extract. Divide the strong chamomile into 2 mugs and top with the vanilla milk. Drizzle honey ontop to taste

Hot coco
Heat ½ tin reduced fat coconut milk and 1 cup of fat-free milk with 75g good-quality dark chocolate and a cinnamon stick. Simmer gently for a few minutes until fragrant. Alternatively, replace the chocolate with cocoa powder and adjust the sweetness with honey. Garnish with toasted coconut shavings or for a decadent addition, serve with toasted coconut covered marshmallows.

Homemade spicy chai
In a saucepan, combine 1/4t ground cardamom (or 2-3 cardamom pods, crushed), 4-6 black peppercorns, 4-6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1T brown sugar (or to taste), the leaves from 2 Darjeeling or Assam tea bags and 2 cups of fat-free milk. Heat gently over low heat for 2 minutes and set aside to brew for 10 minutes before straining, reheating and serving.

Hot Butterscotch
Coat the sides of 2 mugs with tinned caramel or butterscotch sauce (for a quick and easy recipe and step-by-step video click here). Heat 2 cups of fat-free milk with a dash of vanilla extract and pour into cups to serve. For something a little different, serve with a sprinkling of sea salt for a salted caramel version – salt and caramel are perfect partners so give it a try!

In a saucepan, gently heat 3 cups red wine, 1 stick cinnamon, 2T brown sugar, 2-3 cloves, 4 star anise and the peel of 1 orange for 5 minutes. Set aside to infuse before straining, reheating gently and serving.

Some more ideas:
Hot chocolate is a great way to experiment – try infusing the milk with dried chillies, basil leaves or fresh mint before adding the chocolate. Adding liqueurs is also a decadent treat every now and then and the wide variety of flavours mean you can get creative with combinations.
Purchase inexpensive spoons and dip them into dark or white chocolate a few times (allow to set inbetween) and tie together with a pretty ribbon. Package them with some marshmallows and you'll have a thoughtful gift for someone special. 


  1. I have been searching every website for the perfect chai tea recipe. And I think I definitely found it. But where do I find the Assam tea bags, and if I can't find, what can I use as a substitute?

  2. Hi Farah, so glad I could help! You could use any tea - rooibos, Earl Grey, Ceylon, basically whatever takes your fancy :) Let me know how it comes out!