The Uncle Lou and the Aunt Deb are two of the hot beverages you can get at Anoche. Photo courtesy of Anoche

With outdoor dining extending much longer than it had previously, local establishments have come up with some creative and delicious ways to spice (or spike) up a variety of warming quaffs. The following list is by no means exhaustive, and I suspect that, as temperatures drop, more and more places will add a “hot drinks” section to their cocktail menu.


Portland’s own cider house, Anoche, has two $8 options: the G Daddy (hot cider, citrus & spice, bourbon, French liqueur Suze and Amaro Alta Verde) and the Uncle Lou (hot cider, dark rum, Suze and Amaro Alta Verde). Down the street, you can spike Maine Craft Distilling’s $5 hot cider with rum or cinnamon vodka for $5 to $6 extra. For $8 extra, you can spike the $5 hot wassail with either rum and peach or whiskey and applejack (a type of brandy).


Spiked coffee options abound at Ri Ra, where you can get coffee with Baileys or Jameson (and, of course, whipped cream) for $12, coffee with both Baileys and Jameson for $14, and coffee with Baileys and Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur) for $14. At Maine Craft Distilling, you can adultify its $3 coffee by adding a combo of spiced rum, coconut chai and cream, just mezcal, or whiskey, brown sugar and cream, for an additional $8 to $9.


The most unusual hot adult beverage I came across is Maine Craft Distilling’s spiked green tea. The basic tea is $3, then for $8, you can add a combination of gin, French herbal liqueur Chartreuse, lemon and basil honey. Alternatively, for $7 you can add a mix of vodka, elderflower, lime and basil honey. Add a green Chartreuse foam to either for $1.


What’s not to love about a drink that combines two of my favorite food groups, rum and butter? Head to Ri Ra for its $12 version (dark rum, butter and cinnamon) or to Maine Craft Distilling for its $11 one (rum, spiced hot butter and hot water).


This column began as an excuse for me to write about Wilson County Barbecue’s $12 maple pecan hot chocolate: hot chocolate, house-infused maple pecan bourbon and a toasted marshmallow garnish. Then I learned about the $15 to $17 extreme hot chocolate boards at The Yard: five of the most over-the-top hot chocolates you’ve ever seen, accompanied by a matching dessert. Choose between toffee nut, Milky Way, coffee, traditional s’mores and chocolate-covered cherry s’mores. Add a shot of Baileys, vanilla vodka, Rumchata, etc., for $5 more. The shots come on the side so that patrons can add the alcohol themselves. Since Wilson Country Barbecue and The Yard are next door to each other, hot chocolate lovers in Bayside have a lot of options.

Alternatively, head to Ri Ra for the $14 peppermint hot chocolate (peppermint schnapps, Baileys, hot chocolate and whipped cream) or to Maine Craft Distilling, where you can spike the $6 hot chocolate with things like cinnamon vodka, blueberry liquor, raspberry and rum, or mint and whiskey for an additional $4 to $6.

Wilson County Barbecue offers a $12 Kentucky toddy with bourbon, hot water, honey, lemon and cloves. Photo courtesy of Wilson Country Barbecue


Known for its bourbon, Wilson County Barbecue offers a $12 Kentucky toddy with bourbon, hot water, honey, lemon and cloves. Maine Craft Distilling has a $13 combination of whiskey, basil honey, lemon and hot water.


Anoche isn’t just for cider – it also offers the $8 Aunt Deb (mulled wine, cognac & spice, and citrus pink peppercorns).

Whatever your preferred hot adult beverage, this winter Portland bartenders are intent on warming you up, from the inside out.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

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