As the days grow shorter, the elements harsher, and the layers thicker, people are more prone to the winter blues. Don’t let a little bit of cold get you down. After all, it is the simple things in life that make everything okay in the end. From a welcome shot of whisky and a hot toddy, to a velvety hot chocolate, and a nice cup of Joe, wrap your hands around the best beverages to warm you up this winter in Scotland.
The Scots jump on every excuse to add a touch of whisky to anything. With this in mind, consider the hot toddy the perfect beverage to ignite a fire within and warm the soul. A genius invention, hot toddy is a glorious concoction of whisky (sometimes rum or brandy), honey, and water. Recipes vary across households and are dependent on preference. Some opt for herbs and spices, while others substitute honey for sugar. The moment this piping hot elixir touches the tongue, the mind is infused with images of tartan, moors, and glens.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
An obvious contender for the best Scottish beverage, whisky is the perfect drinking companion — it listens to all your woes, adds a spring to your step, and makes all your cares diminish into thin air. Those with a hankering for this Scottish tipple don’t need to look far — Scotland is riddled with the stuff. Choose your poison from any of the whisky regions and embrace the harsher elements with this secret weapon.
When served wonderfully warm and overflowing with marshmallows, a large mug of hot chocolate has the capability of making anyone’s day. Whether on a country walk in the Highlands, during a pit stop after touring Edinburgh, or post-hike in the middle of nowhere, you can be certain that hot chocolate is a much-loved Scottish staple during winter. Those on a mission to source the best kind should venture to Balnakeil and delight in Cocoa Mountain, home to arguably the best hot chocolate in Scotland. The Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh is another worthy contender.
As December approaches, along with the mistletoe and tacky knitwear, it seems as though every nook and cranny in Scotland is inundated with a myriad of mulled wine. The aroma of the citrus fruits and mulling spices fused with the sumptuous taste of the red wine — and topped off with the occasional raisin — is a tipple worthy of unwavering praise. Warm and soothing, this punch can be deceivingly potent.
Coffee is a dream of a drink. Whether waking up or putting that head on the pillow, a classic cup of Joe never disappoints. From lattes and flat whites to cappuccinos and espressos, choose your caffeine injection at any of the local coffee spots around Scotland. The Scots drink it like water, so finding some good-quality artisanal roasts should not be a problem.
Whisky may be a liquid embodiment of Scotland, however, gin is quickly becoming a worthy contender. From the glorified botanicals found within The Botanist from the Isle of Islay and the flavourful rose and cucumber in Hendricks, to the punchy kick in Edinburgh Gin, the land is overflowing with barrels of gin. Although served as is, the mind and body will feel significantly warmer after a well-deserved glass or two.
It may sound self-explanatory, but a good cup of tea can say a lot about a person or a dining establishment. The Scots are forever boiling the kettle and welcoming surprise ‘pop-ins’ and visits from guests. It could be argued that the fine quality of tea is in actual fact the primary lure for visitors, with the banter coming second. Those that live for tea should invest in Fortnum & Mason’s Dalreoch White — a fresh, light, classic white tea bursting with hints of nut and honey. Although pretty pricey, this blend adds that perfect touch of Scottish warmth on a cold winters day.
Graced with bubbling carbonation and infused with resplendent orange hues, it may not be warm but that doesn’t matter to the Scots. Irn-Bru or ‘Scotland’s other national drink next to whisky’ has been the Scottish go-to fizzy drink since 1901. Often used as a mixer, Irn-Bru blends well with whisky or vodka. Perhaps the only place that Coke comes second in the ‘most-drunk’ category, Irn-Bru is a drink praised and loved across Scotland. It really is no surprise that Sir Sean Connery chose a crate of it to be exhibited at The National Museum Of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.