Some might say it’s the perfect thing to take the chill off a cold winter day. I’m talking about the drink known as a Hot Toddy. By its basic definition (this one from Merriam Webster), a Hot Toddy is a mixed drink made with liquor (usually rum), water, sugar, spices and served hot. While the actual origin isn’t exactly known, we do know it’s been around for a while. It’s believed to have been invented in Scotland sometime during the 1700’s.
While the traditional recipe is pretty basic, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, New Hampshire’s mixologists are putting a whole new spin on this magnificent cold-weather concoction. Let me show you how their creations go way beyond your typical hot toddy. And you are forewarned: this is not your grandparents Hot Toddy!
Head to western New Hampshire to the quaint charming town of Fitzwilliam. There you’ll find a local landmark, the 200 year-old Fitzwilliam Inn. Step inside and try their Dirty Chai Elixir. This beverage blends chai tea, Van Gogh Chocolate Vodka, Expresso Liquer and Amarula Cream Liquer. Enjoy it while taking in a winter view of nearby Mount Monadnock.
White Mountains Region
Nestled in the White Mountain town of Sugar Hill, you’ll find Polly’s Pancake Parlor. This restaurant is a hot spot for its pancakes, but another specialty is their drink known as the “Old Sap.” A key ingredient, as you might have guessed by the name, is maple syrup! The team here mixes it with steamed milk, vodka and kahlua for a recipe that pairs perfectly with their Apres Ski Dinners!
Make your way to the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in Whitefield and stop in at The Harvest Tavern. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table cuisine and a hot drink this time of year is Red Silk. The flavors of Crème De Cocoa Dark, Canyon Road Cabernet, hot cocoa and frothed milk combine to make this a decadent night cap.
Over in the Mount Washington Valley town of Jackson is the classic country inn, The Wildcat Inn & Tavern. Stop in and sample their cleverly crafted concoction that combines the flavors of Black Tea, fig, and pure NH maple syrup. The name? How purrrfect: “Cat on a Hot Toddy Roof!”
The Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford is heating things up this winter with an adult version of hot chocolate. The fiery twist on their Mayan Fire is so hot in fact, it’s served cold! Visitors have been raving about this cocktail and love confusing their taste buds with a fun mix of temperatures and tastes. They’ve created two versions, a Mayan Fire cocktail and Mayan Fire martini.
New Hampshire’s Seacoast is really getting in the ‘spirit’ of the season. Veteran mixologist Larry Scarletto at The Goat Bar in Hampton was inspired to come up with the Drunken Hot Chocolate because it’s been so cold on the coast this winter. Bailey’s, Fireball and hot chocolate combine to put a new twist on this classic winter warmer. Insider tip: hot chocolate’s are on special on the weekends for $5!
Not too far from The Goat Bar, “Alexander the Great” is taking center stage at Tinos Greek Kitchen. This cocktail is an update on the classic Brandy Alexander and is a blend of Mextaxa 5 star brandy, Tempus Fugit crème de cacao, homemade pistachio syrup and topped off with coffee and orange flower waterfoam. They also offer a chilled version minus the coffee!
What’s better than wine, chocolate and warmth on a cold winter night? How about The Franklin Oyster House’s “Hot Lovin’ Chocolate?” Traditionally mulled wines are slow simmered mixes of red wine, star anise, cinnamon and a variety of citrus. This one is prepared a similar way, but they switch out some of the traditional ingredients for cacao nibs, hazelnuts, birdseye chilis, cognac, red wine, and their housemade crème de cacao. The drink is topped with a red wine raspberry meringue cookie.
The jalapeno adds a fiery flair to just about any recipe, and this one is no exception. The Atlantic Grill in Rye is warming up winter with their version of a Spicy Hot Cocoa. It’s just the right combination of house infused Jalapeno Tequila, Hot Cocoa, Whip Cream and a dusting of Cinnamon-Cayene.
You don’t have to leave New Hampshire to enjoy a taste of Sicily this winter. Louie’s in Portsmouth is serving up a warm, bright cocktail featuring Averna Amaro, a bitter Italian digestif and their own clove infused aged rum. Added to that is a clementine agrodolce which adds a delicious layer of complexity to this drink, aptly named Winter in Sicily. It’s the perfect cure for long winter nights!
London is Calling over at Moxy. This cleverly named and crafted cocktail is Moxy’s take on an Earl Grey Tea Latte. What’s their secret? Well, we’ll tell you. They take Triple Eight Vanilla Vodka, Vecchio Amaro del Capo, house made vanilla bean-earl grey syrup and top it off with steamed milk. A surefire winter warmer, especially if you like tea.
That’s just a sampling of some of the local flavors you’ll find this winter in New Hampshire. Raise a glass and toast to warming up with cocktails served with a whole lot of creativity.