Christmas is drawing ever closer and we know those cold dark nights will be the order of the day from now on in, so warm your cockles with these winter warmers from diffordsguide.com. HOT TODDY

Simon Difford says: The origin of the Hot Toddy has been lost in time but Dickens refers to a "Whisky Toddy" in The Pickwick Papers. Better still the smoky flavours in the Scotch add spice to this warming drink - perfect for when you're feeling down with a cold or the flu. Glass: Toddy Garnish: Cinnamon stick You will need: 1 spoon Runny honey 2 shots Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky ½ shot freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ shot Monin Pure Cane sugar syrup (or 2:1 sugar/water) 3 dried cloves Boiling water to top up with Method: Place a bar spoon loaded with honey in a warmed glass. Add all of the ingredients and stir until all of the honey has dissolved. HOT BUTTERED RUM   Simon Difford says: I rather like this slightly oily, warming, spicy toddy. This drink is even better when you use heated dry cider in place of boiling water. Glass: Toddy Garnish: Cinnamon stick and slice of lemon studded with cloves You will need: 2 spoons of runny honey
1 knob unsalted butter
2 shots Bacardi Oro golden rum (available in most good supermarkets)
1 spoon freshly grated nutmeg Boiling water to top up with Method: Place a bar spoon loaded with honey in a warmed glass. Add the other ingredients and stir until the honey and butter are dissolved. IRISH COFFEE Simon Difford says: This now ubiquitous cocktail was created in 1942 by Joe Sheridan, a bartender at Foynes airport (near the present-day Shannon airport). The majority of transatlantic flights used to stop to refuel in Ireland and in 1947 an American journalist, Stan Delaphane, found himself at Joe Sheridan's bar and tried his Irish Coffee. Delaphane was so impressed that on returning home he passed the recipe on to the bartender at his local bar, the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco. The recipe spread and the drink became a classic. Like most great ideas, this one is very simple. Coffee with a whiskey kick. Glass: Toddy Garnish: Three coffee beans You will need: 1 shot of Jameson Irish whiskey
Top up with hot filter coffee Double cream Method: Lightly whip double cream and place bar spoon in glass. Add in double cream and pour whiskey into the glass. Top up with coffee and stir. Finally float a small dollop of cream on the top. Tip: To ensure a good float, lightly whip or simply shake cream in container before pouring over the bowl of a spoon. It also helps if the cream is gently warmed. HOT RED BLOODED FRENCHMAN Simon Difford says: Warm, fruity red wine - great on a cold night. Glass: Toddy Garnish: Orange zest twist You will need: 1 shot of Grand Marnier liqueur 2 shots of red wine ½ shot freshly squeezed orange juice ½ shot freshly squeezed lemon juice ¼ shot sugar syrup (2:1 sugar/water) Boiled water to top up with Method: Place bar spoon in warmed glass. Add other ingredients and stir. AUNTIE’S HOT PUNCH Simon Difford says: After an afternoon outside building snowmen, this cocktail will warm you right to your toes. Glass: Toddy Garnish: Cinnamon stick in glass You will need: 1 ½ shots of sherry 2 ¼ shots of cognac ¾ shot freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 shots pressed apple juice Method: Pour all of your ingredients into a glass and stir. Microwave for a minute, stir again and serve. For more warm and cold cocktail recipes to keep you going this Christmas season head to diffordsguide.com.