Bourbon, cranberries and a cinnamon stick make for the Boathouse’s warming Under the Influence. Photo courtesy of The Boathouse Restaurant

There are days when a thick blanket, a cuddly fleece or a robust hand warmer is enough to vanquish the cold. But when the wind chill factor has seriously ramped up and settled into your bones, there’s simply nothing like a hot beverage to restore your core body temperature – and your spirits. And sometimes those spirits are literal. So turn to these creative hot drinks (alcoholic and otherwise) to put some fire in your belly and bring you back to life.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE, The Boathouse Waterfront Restaurant, $15

With its two bars on the Kennebunk River, The Boathouse is no stranger to cool breezes in the summertime. But in colder months, it’s home to fortifying drinks like this bourbon-based specialty – into which barkeeps stir said bourbon with some simple syrup made from vanilla and cranberries, a little lemon juice and cranberry bitters. That gets mixed with hot water and crowned with whole, fresh cranberries and an entire cinnamon stick – conceivably to fight off the winter version of those breezes.

21 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-8223; noon to 8 p.m. daily.

THE CATAPULT, Fair Grounds Community Coffee, $4.25

When does a little extra flavor mean more than a latte? Once you add cayenne, chocolate and cinnamon to any coffee, it takes on an entirely new character. In the case of this gently balanced and caffeine-forward (read: high-voltage), non-alcoholic drink, the deep flavors of hot mocha and sweet, woodsy cinnamon all swirl together to evoke an authentic Mexican Café de Olla. But then the froth of the latte and the cayenne rush in, filling your mouth and belly with the paradox of warm, soothing milk and an undeniable kick of spice. If this doesn’t warm (and wake) you up, nothing will.


7 Portland St., Fryeburg, 207-256-3254; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The Twelve Toddy combines Bull Boy Amaro with ginger liqueur, whiskey, fresh lemon juice and a homemade infused tea. Photo courtesy of Twelve

TWELVE TODDY, Twelve, $16

Bar manager Sylvi Roy has taken the simple hot toddy and kicked it up at least three notches. She starts with Bully Boy Amaro because it “adds a unique blend of hops with other botanicals to create earthy, floral, tea-like notes,” she said. Then she mixes in ginger liqueur, whiskey, fresh lemon juice and “an easy homemade tea infused with maple and honey syrup to round things out.” That blend goes into a pot to warm up, gets a micro-dose of oil from a grapefruit peel and is garnished with either a fresh sage leaf or rosemary sprig.

115 Thames St., Portland, 207-910-7400; 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The mulled wine at Noble Kitchen + Bar in Brunswick has roots in Romania. Photo courtesy of Noble Kitchen + Bar

MULLED WINE, Noble Kitchen + Bar, $13

Back when food and beverage director Russell Hewey was living in Romania, he happened upon and embraced this classic Eastern European answer to winter. “We make it the same way,” he said. Which means medium-bodied, dry red wine gently stewed with cardamon seeds, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorn and thin-sliced orange with dashes of sugar to taste. “We had it on the menu last year,” said Hewey, “and it flew out of the bar.”


4 Noble St., Brunswick, 207-607-4040; 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Round Turn Distilling’s Bimini Gin is at the heart of this hot toddy. Photo courtesy of Round Turn Distilling

GINGER-CHAI HOT TODDY, Round Turn Distilling, $10

Yes, another toddy is getting hoisted at bars this winter – this one Asian in inspiration and bold in nature. Co-owner Kristina Hansen recommends it to those who arrive at the distillery seeking not just warmth, but also brightness. Made with Round Turn Distilling’s Bimini Gin, she adds in spiced black tea, raw sugar, lemon and fresh ginger juice before garnishing the whole shebang with a lemon slice. “It’s served hot in our vintage glass punch cups,” she said. “It’s strong, spicy, and sweet all at once.”

32 Main St., Building 13W, Suite 103, Biddeford, 207-370-9446; 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3-8 p.m. Sunday.

Bone broth from LB Kitchen. Photo courtesy of LB Kitchen

BONE BROTH, LB Kitchen Portland, $4.50 (6-ounce) to $8.75 (12-ounce)

Served in a coffee mug under a plume of steam, this collagen-rich liquid is as restorative as it is warming. “It starts with a mirepoix and chicken bones simmered for 12 to 18 hours,” said co-owner Bryna Gootkind. And it teems with flavors like turmeric, ginger and apple cider vinegar. “It’s kind of formed its own secret society of people who drink it every day,” she said.

249 Congress St., Portland, 207-775-2695; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Alexandra Hall is a longtime New England lifestyle writer who lives in Maine.

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