Thursday April 24th 2014

The List: Hot cocktails to help ward off the cold


Winter is so much stronger than us. Between the unstoppable snowfalls and the abrasive wind that likes to slap us around, we’re little more than seasonal pawns at the will of the wind chill.

But we do have some defenses: SmartWool. Wood stoves. And alcohol. Make that warm alcohol.

The hot cocktail is our most indefectible tool to fend off the cold. It can be as simple as tipping a nip of Bailey’s into our coffee. And at bars around Portland, the hot cocktails keep to the classic – and they get creative. Here are a few to help keep to warm.

The hot buttered rum at The Grill Room, Portland, will keep winter’s chills at bay.

  • portland-press-herald_3114703 The Grill Room 84 Exchange St. Portland, ME 04101 Get Directions

    Hot toddy: A classic for battling the ills of the world – colds, flus, winter – the hot toddy takes your average mug of hot water, adds some liquor, and makes it something we want to hang out with. At The Grill Room, the hot toddy is made with Collins Irish Whiskey, honey, and hot water and is served with a clove-pierced lemon and a stick of cinnamon.

    Hot buttered rum: Thoughts of butter tend to warm the heart anyway, no? Add in some rum, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and hot water and you’ve got yourself a top-notch, low-calorie* way to stay warm. At The Grill Room,  the Cruzan Blackstrap Rum gives the hot buttered rum a, “molassesey, gingerbready flavor to it,” according to Grill Room bar manager John Meyers.  The butter, whipped with love and cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar, is good enough to eat. And you should, if offered.
    * In this context, “low-calorie” means “not that low.”  

  • sonnys_bar_570 Sonny's 83 Exchange St. Portland, ME 04101 (207) 772-7774 Get Directions

    Hot toddy:  Often made with whiskey or bourbon, lemon, honey, and other spices, the hot toddy has earned a permanent place in our cold-averting hearts. And at Sonny’s, it’s a hot toddy infusion. Maker’s Mark bourbon is infused with dates and other spices, then poured together with hot water, honey, lemon, a cinnamon stick and a dash of bitter.

    Hot bishop: Here’s a bishop you won’t mind sitting with at the bar. The classic bishop is typically made with red wine, simple syrup, lemon, and ice. It’s a fine refresher for warmer months. But when it’s frigid outside, the bishop needs a warmup. The Sonny’s hot bishop is made with steamed port wine.


  • armory_chairs_570 The Armory Lounge at the Portland Regency 10 Milk Street Portland, ME 04101 (207) 774-4200 Get Directions

    The honey badger: The honey badger is better known for not caring. It don’t care when it gets stung by a thousand bees. And it’s nasty. But the cocktail by the same name being served up that The Armory – well, it’s much easier to cozy up with. The concoction, which drinkers often order in the well-known Randall accent, is made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Liqueur, mulling spice, agave nectar, hot water, and fresh lemon juice.

    Spiked coffee & cocoa: They also have a host of hot coffee-meets-liquor drinks. And their spiked hot cocoa? The best.

  • grace_inside_570 Grace Restaurant 15 Chestnut Street Portland, ME 04101 (207) 828-4422 Get Directions

    Original sin: Two old-fashioned ways to stay warm: build a fire. Sin. Just the thought is often enough to raise a person’s body temp. But we’re not hear to think about things. We’re here to drink. The original sin cocktail uses house-infused cinnamon and clove vodka, which is added to a steaming pot of local apple cider. It’s Grace’s sinner’s twist on the hot toddy.

    The heated affair: A staple on the Grace drink list, isn’t served hot. But the infused strawberry-jalapeno-pineapple tequila in this margarita will probably still leave you flushed in the face.

    Hot buttered rum: The classic can always be ordered here.

  • saltexchange_bar_570 The Salt Exchange 245 Commercial Street Portland, ME 04101 (207) 347-5687 Get Directions

    Hot toddy: Bring on the long peel of lemon, the cloves, the honey, the bourbon. And speaking of bourbon, it must be noted that The Salt Exchange has one of the best selections of bourbon around (approx. 25 of them the last time we checked). Play a round of Bourbon Bingo while you’re there.