Your Football Party Needs This Slow-Cooker Hot Toddy

Skip the boring beer and upgrade to this crowd-pleasing cocktail instead.

Related To:
Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

Try this delicious cocktail from The Bee's Knees Bar Services in Winnipeg, Canada.

Photo by: Bond Freyer / BLF Studios Manitoba

Bond Freyer / BLF Studios Manitoba

To find the perfect drink for any big game party no matter whether you’re rooting for the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles or the halftime show, I turned to a bartender with absolutely no stake in the outcome of the game: a Canadian. “I’m only a Canadian Football League fan,” says Winnipeg mixologist Joel Carleton, before informing me that the CFL was founded well before the National Football League. “I’m actually wearing a Winnipeg Blue Bombers toque right now!”

Thankfully, Carleton has plenty of expertise when it comes to wintertime drinks. A native of Manitoba, he’s been serving up cocktails in central Canada since 2010, and the company he founded, The Bee’s Knees Bar Services, has created craft-cocktail programs for and trained staff at some of the best restaurants and bars in town.

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Spice Latte for a Crowd

Spice up your autumn gatherings and delight your guests with this simple and delicious PSL recipe.

For a football watch party, Carleton suggests making a big batch of an apple cider-based Hot Toddy. “With hot drinks, we’re focusing on the ability of heat to marry flavors together, but the trick is that you can’t do too much heat — you don’t want it to boil,” he says. Carleton’s secret to keeping a hot drink for a crowd at the ideal temperature? A slow cooker! “When someone wants a drink, you just lift the lid, ladle it in the mug and add whatever booze and garnish,” he explains.

Carleton’s Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy couldn’t be easier and is the perfect way to keep a crowd warm and well-lubricated during your big game celebration. It’s a simple mix of apple cider, sugar and cinnamon that’s happy to sit in a slow cooker or simmering on the stove as long as you need it. It’s also infinitely customizable, as each person can add as much or as little of whatever spirit they like—or even none at all. Carleton recommends an aged spirit with a sweeter profile, like Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey, Jim Beam Bourbon or Zacapa Rum. Calvados, an apple brandy from France, is also a favorite of his in this drink. Just use a light pour: “I find when I make these at home, you can really screw it up by putting too much liquor in,” Carleton says. “It’s not meant to be a strong tipple; it’s a warming, comforting beverage.”

Just as important as keeping the toddy mixture just below boiling (Carleton recommends about 80 degrees C, or 176 degrees F) is squeezing a fresh lemon wedge into each drink just as you make it. “The finish is huge because it adds that fresh, bright acidity,” he says. “It’s a wicked little recipe.”

Game-Changing Party Dips

See All Photos

From Griffin Bufkin | Southern Soul Barbeque | St. Simons, Georgia

This over-the-top recipe from a coastal pit master does luxurious lump crab justice. In a concert of craveable flavors, the taste of fresh seafood still comes out on top.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Goat Cheese Guacamole

From David Bancroft | Acre | Auburn, Alabama

Anybody with an avocado, a lime and a fork can make guacamole, but it takes a seasoned chef to come up with this unlikely but popular combination. The chef's wife asks for it with double the goat cheese for an extra-creamy texture.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Pea-co de Gallo

From April McGreger | Farmer's Daughter Brand | Hillsborough, North Carolina

Late summer is prime tomato season – and the only time of year you'll find fresh field peas at your local grocery store or farmers' market. Load up now, and freeze what you don't use so you can serve this healthy twist on a classic salsa for the rest of the year. If you absolutely can't find fresh or frozen peas, low-sodium canned peas will do.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Pimento Cheeseburger Dip

From Mike Moore | Blind Pig Supper Club | Asheville, North Carolina

Just try to stick to one bite of this outrageously delicious tailgating favorite – a chef's tried-and-true recipe with more kick and more flavor than a run-of-the-mill hamburger dip. You can make your own pimento cheese, but it works beautifully with store-bought.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

From Chris Shepherd | Underbelly | Houston, Texas

Who doesn't love a loaded baked potato? This hearty dip is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Heap it up with bacon, chives and green onions.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Bob's Cheese Dip

From Bob Cook | Edmund's Oast | Charleston, South Carolina

This simple formula can be a base for just about any mix-in you can imagine. The chef recommends green onions, peppers, taco seasoning, or even diced bacon or ham. A splash of savory fish sauce adds some depth without imparting a fishy flavor.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Bean Dip

From Ryan Pera | Eight Row Flint | Houston, Texas

Start from scratch to make the best bean dip you've ever had, flavored with poblano pepper, cilantro and spices. Serve it by itself or pile it high with salsa, cheese and sour cream.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Butter Bean Hummus

From Dean Neff | PinPoint Restaurant | Wilmington, North Carolina

Why buy packaged hummus when you can make this healthy, farm-fresh dip from scratch in just a few minutes? Loaded with chopped herbs and brightened with a splash of lemon juice, it's lighter than queso or onion dip but no less delicious.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Artichoke Dip

From Kelly Fields | Willa Jean | New Orleans, Louisiana

Where briny artichoke hearts meet a rich, gooey melt of cheeses, garlic, hot sauce and mayonnaise, tailgating legends are born. You can assemble this a few hours ahead of time and bake it when you're ready to dig in.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Blue Cheese Dip

From Karl Worley | Biscuit Love | Nashville, Tennessee

The chef inherited this recipe from his grandfather, and it's still one of his go-tos. Seasoning salt is the old-timey touch that makes the creamy mix memorable.

Get the recipe.

Photo By: Margaret Houston

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

By Joel Carleton | The Bee's Knees Bar Services | Winnipeg, Canada

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

Try this delicious cocktail from The Bee's Knees Bar Services in Winnipeg, Canada.

Photo by: Bond Freyer / BLF Studios Manitoba

Bond Freyer / BLF Studios Manitoba


Makes 12-15 drinks

  • 8 oz. water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 1 gallon fresh-pressed apple cider
  • 5 dashes apple bitters (may substitute Angostura or your favorite cocktail bitters), plus more to taste
  • whiskey, brandy or rum
  • lemon wedges studded with cloves


Two to four hours before the party starts, add all the ingredients except the whiskey, brandy or rum to a slow cooker set to high. (You can also use a large pot on the stove over low heat instead; if so, start the process about an hour before the party.) Stir every 10 minutes for the first half hour or so, until the sugar dissolves completely. Cover and let stand until hot. Turn the slow cooker to low to keep the mixture warm during the party.

To make individual drinks, add 1 oz. or less of whiskey, brandy or rum to a mug other heat-proof vessel and fill with the hot cider mixture (or make a virgin Toddy by leaving out the alcohol entirely). Garnish with a lemon wedge studded with 3 whole cloves — squeeze the wedge into the drink and then drop it in as well.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Warm Up With This Slow-Cooker Sangria Recipe

It's everything you love about summery sangria, with a cold-weather twist. Cinnamon and hibiscus tea add spicy earthiness to this delicious, warm cocktail. Let your slow cooker do all the work while you enjoy your guests.

Slow-Cooker Holiday Cranberry Butter Recipe

This flavorful spread is delicious on warm, artisan breads and easy to serve up when holiday guests drop by.

12 Easy, Slow-Cooker Recipes Perfect for Holiday Gatherings

And football parties. And Netflix binge sessions.

Whip Up Choucroute in the Slow Cooker

The slow cooker makes preparation for this French-German dish easy.

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

This classic combination of whiskey, lemon and honey is not only good for what ails you, its mellow flavor is the perfect complement to rich seasonal desserts.

8 Cocktails Every Moscow Mule Lover Needs to Try

These variations on the classic cocktail are perfect for summertime sipping.

HGTV Happy Hour: Try This Refreshing Pineapple Hibiscus Punch for Summer Parties

Combine fruity, flowery and spicy notes for a refreshing summer cocktail with a kick.

Boozy Peppermint Patty Hot Cocoa

This warm cocktail pairs the chill of peppermint with the warmth of steamy hot cocoa. Topped with crushed peppermints and whipped cream, it's sure to please.

Set Up a Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar

During the winter offer guests an alternate sundae station by creating a hot chocolate bar. Set out toppings like whipped cream, chocolate chips and peppermints so they can create the ultimate holiday treat.

Boozy Chocolate-Covered Cherry Hot Cocoa Recipe

Shake off a cold-weather chill with this warm and creamy cocktail that tastes just like decadent chocolate-covered cherries.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.