Toast the sason with these alcohol-based and non-alcoholic tipples

Festive drinks to sip and savour

Celebrate the season in style
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Hot Cider Toddy

Combining the best of both worlds, this cocktail blends the fruity spice of mulled cider with the gentle warmth of a hot toddy. Spike it with The Glenlivet 14 Year Old, a single malt Scotch finished in cognac barrels: Since brandy is commonly added to mulled wine or cider, it builds the perfect bridge between two seasonal favorites.

Make this recipe in a slow cooker, in any quantity you want. For example, using a one-cup measure as a proportional “part” in this recipe, you’ll end up with around 1.5 litres, or about eight 6-ounce servings.

Hot Cider Toddy

2 parts The Glenlivet 14 Year Old Scotch

3 parts non-alcoholic apple cider

1/4 part lemon juice (optional: Instead of lemon juice, add a pat of salted butter for a Hot Buttered Cider Toddy)

1/4 part honey water (equal parts honey and water, thoroughly combined)

Whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg

Aromatics, such as orange peel or fresh ginger slices

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and heat covered on low for up to four hours or on high for one hour. (You can also use a pot on the stovetop, but do not let liquid come to a simmer or boil, or the alcohol will evaporate.) Ladle into heatproof mugs or glasses to serve.

Bright bubbles

New-generation no-alcohol bubblies (made like normal wines, then de-alcoholized) sparkle brilliantly. Swedish company Oddbird uses no colouring, artificial flavours or additives in its delicious, guilt-free Blanc de Blancs and Rosé sparklings. Noughty, which is not only alcohol-free but gluten-free, vegan, organic and halal, is made by U.K. company Thomson & Scott, an eco-savvy B Corp, in sparkling Chardonnay and Rosé bottlings. Hospitality veteran Dejou Marano was pregnant when she created Prima Pavé, collaborating with a winery in northern Italy to use local grape varieties for a line of premium non-alcoholic sparkling wines; the Rosé Brut scored 94 at this year’s International Wine & Spirit Competition, the highest score for such a product at the show. Find them at online stores like, and

To give and to get

Ontario’s Cottage Springs Beverage Co. has a holiday-countdown box with 12 cans of craft-cocktail cheers. In B.C., local distilleries like Shelter Point, Sons of Vancouver and Okanagan Spirits package mini-bottles of small-batch spirits, and online whisky clubs like also curate luxe advent collections of Scotch and global whiskies for shipping to many provinces.

Cocktail party calculations

Count on 1.5 drinks per person per hour. In a standard 750-millilitre bottle, there are five servings (5 ounces each) of wine and 16 servings (1.5 ounces each) of liquor. Sprinkle in some cans of beer, cider and one-pour hard sodas or cocktails, and you’re good to go.

And as always, be sure your guests have a safe way to return home, whether it’s a designated driver, taxi, Uber – or spending the night in the guest room.

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