When asked about a cure for the common cold, Sir Alexander Fleming, the Scottish scientist who discovered penicillin and went on to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine, said: “A good gulp of hot whisky at bedtime – it’s not very scientific, but it helps.”

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That’s all the endorsement we need as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere and the sniffles start to get worse.

So in the interests of staving off a cold – or at least warming the spirits a little if you’ve already succumbed – Unfiltered enlisted SMWS ambassador Alan Wood at 28 Queen Street to come up with some variations on the hot toddy, using a selection of the Society’s single cask whisky, rum and cognac.

Here are his recipes for three toddies to keep the winter blues at bay.

A trio of perfect Society toddies: King Toddy, Hot Buttered Rum and Cognac Toddy.


25ml whisky

12ml fresh lemon juice

1oz cassis crème de cassis / blackcurrant or bramble liqueur

Camomile tea

Candied ginger and lemon peel

To prepare

Pour the crème de cassis into a warmed glass with the candied lemon and ginger in it. Add the whisky, then top up with camomile tea. You can top it with a little nutmeg, and breathe in deeply to clear your nose before taking a medicinal sip. The candied ginger is great to munch as well when you’re full of the cold.

Peated whisky works well in the King Toddy.

Alan says: “This is so easy to make and is guaranteed to lift the spirits. You can prepare it in a mug, or an Irish coffee glass. I recommend using a big bold peated whisky, and a Society cask strength bottling is ideal because it will stand up against the different flavours.”


30ml rum

25g softened butter

1tbsp maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick

Candied ginger and lemon peel

Star anise

50ml boiling water

To prepare

Beat together the softened butter and maple syrup in a cup or small bowl. Add the rum and then pour into your glass with a stick of cinnamon, a piece of star anise and a piece of candied ginger and lemon peel. Top up with boiling water and stir until blended.

Beat the softened butter together with the maple syrup.

Alan says: “Imagine sitting in your grandfather’s Chesterfield leather armchair while sucking on Werther’s caramel sweeties, this is exactly how this tastes – especially when combined with a Nicaraguan rum from R8. The Spanish influence really lifts the spirits and dispels the winter blues.”


25ml cognac

2tbsp honey

1 cinnamon stick

12ml fresh lemon juice

50ml boiling water

Candied ginger and lemon peel

Try a Cognac Toddy for a French twist on the classic Scottish recipe.

To prepare

Drizzle around 2 tablespoons of honey into a glass or cup with a stick of cinnamon and a piece of star anise. Add 12ml of fresh lemon juice and then 25ml of cognac, then top up with hot water and stir before serving.

Alan says: “This hot toddy is a twist on the classical Scottish recipe, the gentle aromas of our cognac will transport you to the beautiful French countryside while the cinnamon and ginger help to soothe an aching body.”

This feature is from the November 2018 issue of Unfiltered. The magazine is delivered four times a year to members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. To sign up and receive your own copy, visit www.smws.com/whisky-club-membership