Back in ye olden times, folks would stay warm in the winter months by putting rocks in the fire, shoving them into a specially designed pan and then in the bottom of their beds, which were stuffed with horsehair and hay and probably smelled like hot barn. It was a simpler time, to be sure, but I wouldn’t trade my electric blanket for all the fiery rocks in the world.
However, I do think our Colonial forebearers did get one thing right: They knew whiskey was better served warm, with a dollop of butter and some aromatic spices.
Some modern bartenders have taken this recipe and tweaked it, creating newfangled contraptions with green tea and ginger. Others have opted to stick with the classic recipe for winter warmth. Whether your tastes skew traditional or trendy, here are five steamy alcoholic drinks served in Portland that make the effort of putting on pants utterly worth it.
Whiskey pots at Pai Men Miyake, 188 State St., miyakerestaurants.com/paimen
Served in twee little teapots, these hot cocktails come at a slightly higher price tag than most ($14), but that’s reflective of the amount of liquid you receive. Two drinks, one pot and two options to boot; you can choose from ginger lemon (with Knob Creek whiskey, ginger liquor, cloves, fresh ginger, yuzu mix and hot water) or honey (Maker’s Mark, lemon juice, honey, hot water).
Hot toddy at North Point, 35 Silver St., northpointportland.com
This charming bar offers an extensive cocktail list with several hot drinks (including spiked chili hot chocolate and Irish coffee), but for optimum decongestant powers, I suggest getting the $10 hot toddy, which is made with Bacardi, honey, allspice, nutmeg, lemon and cinnamon.
Cure All at Bao Bao Dumpling House, 133 Spring St., baobaodumplinghouse.com
With digestive-aiding ginger liquor, metabolism-boosting green tea, immune system-supporting honey and Vitamin C-rich lemon, this hot concoction lives up to its name.
Ginger hot toddy at Tiqa, 327 Commercial St., tiqa.net
This updated version of the Hot Toddy includes ginger liquor, Hudson Baby bourbon, orange peel, clove and, to give it a uniquely Maine touch, maple syrup ($12).
Mulled cider at LFK, 188a State St., lfkportland.me
Okay, so this one technically isn’t a hot toddy, though you can order one at LFK for the same price ($9). I personally happen to prefer cider spiked with hot rum, but the toddy is excellent, too.
Katy Kelleher is a writer, teacher and editor living in Buxton.