Warm up this autumn and winter with one of these easy-to-make spiced or mulled hot drinks - from spiced gin punch to the traditional hot toddy.

As the weather turns colder and the nights draw in, now is the best time to warm up with a mulled or spiced drink.

These are especially good if enjoying an outdoor fireworks display this bonfire night.

Gleneagles hotel recipe: mulled cider


Picture: Gleneagles


  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • The peel from two clementines or one
  • large orange
  • The peel from one unwaxed lemon
  • 2 tsp of finely grated, fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 50ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 litre of good quality cider
  • (We use Cairn O’Mohr made with 100% Perthshire apples)



1 Place all the ingredients, except the cider and maple syrup, in a
saucepan and heat, stirring well until the lemon juice starts to sizzle.

2 Add the cider and maple syrup and continue to heat over a low
to medium flame for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Do not allow to boil.

3 Pour your liquid through a fine strainer to remove the cloves, cinnamon stick and any other solids.

4 This will keep in the fridge for up to three days and can simply be
reheated and served when required. It’s also delicious chilled and
served over ice!

5 For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the cider with one litre of
good quality, cloudy, fresh apple juice.

Mulled wine


Picture: Mulled wine


• 750 ml (1 bottle) red wine
• 1 litre of unfiltered apple juice
• 4 whole cloves
• 3 star anise
• 2 long cinnamon sticks
•Zest and juice of 1 orange
• Orange peel to decorate


Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan or preserving pan.

Heat until the liquid is hot but not boiling.

Turn off the heat, keep covered and leave overnight to infuse. The longer the wine infuses, the more the flavour and spiciness develops.

On the day of serving, heat to a comfortable temperature and serve from a large tureen with a ladle for each cup.

Darnley’s hot spiced gin punch


Picture: Darnley’s Gin


  • 250ml Darnley’s Spiced Gin
  • 500ml organic apple cider
  • 750ml ginger beer
  • 100g Demerara sugar
  • 1 split vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 100ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Apple rounds (cored)
  • Juniper berries



Pour all ingredients into a pot and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

Leave on the heat for another 5 minutes.

Serve warm, garnished with an apple wedge studded with cloves.


Hot Toddy


A delicious Scottish hot toddy – the star anise is optional. Picture: pixnio.com


• 35ml of blended Scotch whisky (we prefer using a non-peated premium blend but peated whisky works just as well and gives the drink an entirely different taste, so it can be fun to try)

• 1 tbsp Honey

• 100ml – 200ml of boiling water

• cloves

• One lemon

• Sugar


• a stick of cinnamon

• star anise

• a handled glass (as shown in main picture)


Should you not be a fan of whisky, then substitute in a spirit of your choice such as Scottish gin or even rum for a deliciously different take.

Cut the lemon in half then cut a 1/2 inch slice from one of the halves, put to one side.

Dust a plate with a thin coat of sugar, then rim the glass you intend to use with one of the halves of lemon to wet the rim with lemon juice. Then turn the glass upside down and place the rim into the sugar to dust the glass.

Pour the whisky into the glass, then add the honey.

Add the boiling water, obviously adding a larger amount will dilute the taste so we recommend 150ml, so the glass is only 3/4’s full, but how much you wish to add is up to you.

Add a few cloves, then squeeze the juice from one half of the lemon into the glass and stir.

Optional – add a stick of cinnamon or some star anise for an extra hit of flavour.

Cut the lemon slice in half, adding one to the glass and using the other to garnish. Alternatively ‘pin’ several of the cloves to one of the half slices and add the slice at step 5.

Tesco: Vanilla chai hot toddy with rum



  • 3 Tesco Finest chai tea bags
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved and split lengthways
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 30g soft brown sugar
  • 1½ tbsp clear honey
  • 300ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 135ml dark rum
  • 6 tsp single cream (optional)
  • 6 star anise, to serve


Bring 600ml water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the teabags, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir, turn off the heat, then leave to infuse for 6 mins.

Squeeze out the tea bags, then discard. Add the sugar and honey and stir to dissolve.

Pour the almond milk into the pan and gently warm through.

Remove from the heat and add the rum. Divide between mugs or heatproof glasses, spoon 1 tsp cream over each, if using, and garnish with star anise.


Laprig Valley winter spice apple juice

Picture: Laprig Valley

For an alcohol-free warming drink, why not try Lapprig Valley’s winter spice apple juice?

Based in the Borders, Laprig produces single variety apple juice with some varieties including apple and chilli and the mulled winter spice.

Simple heat and serve with a garnish of cloves, a cinnamon stick and a slice of apple for a seasonal warmer.

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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