Warm up with this week’s wintery tipple – a Swiss twist on the classic Hot Toddy, inspired by the affluent alpine ski resort of Gstaad. Created by Giovanni Spezziga, general manager at The Coral Room and Dalloway Terrace in London, the Alpine Toddy is the perfect homage to the snow-clad winter playground.
Set against the backdrop of the jaw-dropping Wildstrubel mountain, Gstaad has made a name for itself as one of the most luxurious ski destinations in the world. You can expect to see some famous faces in the queue for the ski lifts – Madonna is reportedly a resort regular, as is Italian fashion designer Valentino. Even Dame Julie Andrews, who seems pretty chill, was impassioned to declare it “the last paradise in a crazy world”.
London hotspot Dalloway Terrace has adopted a few of the town’s traditional elements to give guests a taste of alpine life and bring Gstaad to Bloomsbury this winter. You’ll find snow drenched pine garlands and traditional Swiss cow bells tucked away among frosty foliage, scherenschnitte (Swiss paper cutting) dotted around its restaurant – and an Alpine-centric menu to match, as Spezziga explains.
“We’ve taken inspiration from the Swiss Alps, in particular Gstaad – a really tiny gem in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “We went there for three days at the beginning of November to explore the area, meet different local businesses – a chocolatier, a bakery, a cheesemaker – and try a selection of Alpine-style cocktails.
“When we came back to London, we started to play around with ingredients to make sure the cocktail list reflected the atmosphere there,” Spezziga continues, ”using grappa and eaux de vie, which is French, but very popular in parts of Switzerland. We came up with four different cocktails; all hot drinks, really flavourful and quite boozy.”
First on the menu is Glühwein, which combines Pinot Noir, crème de figue liqueur, and ‘spices formula’ – overproof bourbon, Angostura bitters, and Cognac cooked down with nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise and sugar, Spezziga says, to make a “silky, spicy syrup”. The team adds a little lemon juice and hot water before garnishing with a cinnamon stick and dried orange.
Next is Chocolat Chaud, described as “a cross between a Grasshopper and an Irish Coffee”. The drink contains Nonino Williams Pear – grappa made from a variety of pear harvested in Switzerland – crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and Swiss white chocolate. “It’s really rich and creamy and has a wintery, Christmassy look and feel; green on the bottom, white in the middle with beautiful nutmeg grated on top,” he says.
Named for the scenic train journey across the Alps, Golden Pass Express is a twist on an Espresso Martini that sees Amaro Nonino, espresso, homemade caramel syrup and Tonka beans topped with whipped cream and lashings of grated Swiss dark chocolate. “We serve it in a beautiful latte glass so it’s long and dark and looks quite decadent,” says Spezziga. “Because of the caffeine and the Amaro Nonino, it’s a perfect digestif.”
This week, however, we’re shining a light on the delectable Alpine Toddy. Named after Gstaad’s historic five-star hotel The Alpine, this aromatic, light and warming serve combines Nonino Grappa, chamomile flower, Supasawa and organic agave. “Everywhere you go in the Swiss Alps they serve a Toddy-style drink, which is usually whisky or grappa with hot water or tea, so this is a little more refined,” he explains.
“The Nonino Grappa gives a lot of body to the cocktail and a spiced finish as well,” Spezziga continues. “The chamomile tea we brew fresh for every cocktail, and instead of lemon we’re using Supasawa, a very sustainable sour mix. Rather than sugar, we’re using organic agave. It’s a very simple drink.”
And when you’re knocking up festive drinks at home, simple is the aim of the game. Below, you’ll find the recipe and method for the Alpine Toddy, so you can whip up this warming Gstaad-themed tipple without having to wrestle the kettle off Madonna. Everyone’s a winner.
Mix together on a low heat as you would a mulled wine. Don’t boil or you will lose the booze. Serve in a toddy glass.