The Frost Fair Toddy


Frost Fair on the River Thames in 1814 by artist Luke Clennell in the Museum of London

In 1716, the winter was cold enough to freeze the Thames, and a so-called ‘Frost Fair’ was held on the ice with hot gin and gingerbread being sold on the frozen river. In fact 200 years have elapsed since, and the Thames has never frozen solid enough for such hedonism to be repeated. But between 1309 and 1814, the Thames froze at least 23 times and on five of these occasions the ice was thick enough to hold a fair? In 1716 with the gin craze in full swing in London it was served hot and with gingerbread at the Frost Fair. At the last Frost Fair in 1814 an elephant walked across the frozen Thames to show how strong it was.


Thames Ditton Gin
Fever-Tree Ginger Ale
Splash of hot water
Slice of orange preferably blood orange
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprig of mint


Pour a double measure of gin into a tall cocktail glass and swill
Warm the ginger ale in a saucepan. Add a splash of hot water to your taste if you prefer a longer drink
Pour over gin
Serve with the slice of orange
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon if it is to your taste
Garnish with mint