A warm drink on a wintry evening is the perfect soother for nursing the body against falling temperatures, the spirit coursing through the veins providing sheer comfort. The origins of such warm cocktails can be found in the practice of mulling wine, which essentially means boiling the drink with spices and other infusions to introduce newer and elevated flavour profiles into the original beverage. However, over time, as the culture of consuming non-alcoholic beverages began to take shape, mocktail versions of famed toddies and warm liquors came to be popularised too, for their exquisite taste and soothing properties.
If you are combating a bad cold or are warming up against the rising winter frost, sipping on a warm mocktail can have a healing effect on the body. Akin to a mug of hot chocolate or cocoa with marshmallows, a hot virgin toddy would be warming but it will also enable the body to cure itself of sniffles, infused as it is with varied spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. A warm drink of virgin toddy smoothens the digestive system too and gives you a good night’s sleep.
The origins of toddy or ‘toady’ as it was referred to during the colonial times, can be traced back to plantations in India where the drink was made from fermenting the sap of palm trees. The earliest references to the cocktail can be found in written records in 1786 when it was described as a drink made using alcoholic liquor, water, sugar and spices. Today, the cocktail is made by mixing whiskey or Scotch and hot water, along with honey, sugar syrup and tons of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and citrusy lemon.
In many regions which experience severely cold weather, hot toddy is prescribed to relieve flu symptoms and histories also suggest that it was advocated by doctors as a healing potion made out of brandy, white cinnamon and hot water.
The non-alcoholic beverage is a delicious healer too, that soothes a sore throat and cough. A mix of honey, hot water and orange gives the body a healthy vitamin C fix to rid it of seasonal infections.
Virgin toddy is made up of simple ingredients including cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, honey put into a pot of boiling water before straining it to ensure their flavours seep into the drink. Serve this non-alcoholic drink in a mug or in an Irish coffee glass and garnish with an orange wheel and some cloves.
Find out below the full recipe to make a virgin hot toddy infused with spices and citrus, that will keep you warm and comfy on wintry evenings:
Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand for a minute or two to warm.
Meanwhile, stick the cloves into a lemon peel or wheel and set aside.
Empty the mug and fill about halfway with fresh boiling water.
Add the prepared lemon peel or wheel and stir.
Serve it in a Irish mug.