When the weather outside is frightful, there is no better way to warm up than with a hot toddy. The exact history of the toddy is up for debate; most likely it’s based on slang in the 1700s for whiskey, or toddy. A traditional hot toddy isn’t much more than a spirit, hot water or tea, sugar or honey, maybe lemon and warm spices like cinnamon or cloves. But, when 21st-century experts get hold of a hot toddy, well that’s another story altogether – spicy chai tea, sweet maple syrup, rum or cognac, anything goes. One can argue that these are not the real deal, or just enjoy them for what they are — a welcome warm cocktail for a winter day. Here are few Denver and Boulder spots to spike your interest in a hot toddy.

Williams and Graham
3160 Tejon St.
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 997-8886
www.williamsandgraham.comIf authentic is what you desire, look no further than Williams and Graham. The Denver speakeasy is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a new winter food and drink menu. The new menu at Williams and Graham pays homage to the drink with a bona fide traditional hot toddy, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, honey, lemon juice and hot water. The hot chai toddy is made with Flor de Caña rum, chai tea, cream and sugar syrup. Order the W&G popcorn for a sweet and salty treat to nosh on with your hot toddy.

A hot toddy at the Flagstaff House (credit: flagstaffhouse.com)

A hot toddy at the Flagstaff House (credit: flagstaffhouse.com)

Flagstaff House
1138 Flagstaff Road
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4640

There is no better winter view of the hamlet of Boulder than from the plate glass walls of Flagstaff House. Add a warm fire and a hot drink to the experience, and it’s magical. Try Adam’s Holiday Spiced Rum, made with vanilla simple syrup, chai tea, butter, orange and clove, served flamingly hot. Pair it with Flagstaff House’s duck pâté with Rainier cherries and pistachios or cheese plate of an Italian taleggio, Petit Basque sheep’s milk cheese or a soft Brillat Savarin.

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Colt & Gray
1553 Platte St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 477-1447

If you are looking for an air of London Mayfair to go with your hot toddy, Colt & Gray delivers. Colt & Gray is part posh, part British refinement and part London transplant with a wide selection of the finest spirits that make the perfect hot toddy. Pick your spirit – Compass Box Oak Cross whiskey, W.L Weller bourbon, Laird’s apple brandy or Flor de Caña rum – and wrap you fingers around a warm hot toddy. Colt & Gray’s charcuterie platters are a great accompaniment. Choose from a literal head-to-tail menu of porchetta di testa (deboned pigs head), beef tongue pastrami or mortadella sausage with pistachios.

Peaks Lounge
Hyatt Regency Denver
650 15th St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 436-1234

When you sit by the window at Peaks Lounge atop the Hyatt Regency, pinch yourself for being lucky enough to live in Denver, then order a hot toddy. The elegant service and scenery on the 27th floor is perfect for special occasions or to end an evening with an after-dinner drink. Top off a hot tea or coffee with the spirit of your choice and check out the bar menu for an appetizer or dessert. Try the fig and prosciutto flatbread with soft tangy goat cheese or a chocolate fondue for two with toasted marshmallows, graham crackers, Rice Krispies treats and berries.

Wystone’s World Tea
7323 W. Alaska Drive
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 663-5775

If your idea of a hot toddy starts with tea, then Wystone’s World Tea will astound you with its selection of teas. Hundreds of whole-leaf teas are available at Wystone—green, black, white and herbal tisanes— for health and enjoyment. Try a pumpkin spice toddy, pair an earthy, spicy Kenilworth Ceylon tea with Grand Marnier or compine a vanilla bourbon tea with a shot of barrel-aged bourbon to warm your soul. The food menu at Wystone’s is just as extensive as the tea selection. Try the Kenyan tea-roasted red bliss potatoes with chipotle aioli or a green tea Pho noodle bowl.

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Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.