Top Five Cocktails for Warming Up in Portland, Maine

Luxury HotelsAfter a full day of shopping in the Old Port this holiday season, partake in one of these strong, warming beverages. The frosty and fruity flings of summer are over, and it’s time to fortify with a libation as crisp and spiced as the season is.

Jack Rose

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Popular in the 1920s, this drink is coveted for its perfect tartness. Sweet and fragrant Applejack brandy is a flavor worthy of an autumn day on the porch, watching the leaves flutter off the trees. Prepare your own pomegranate syrup in place of sugary bottled grenadine for a special treat. Order bar manager Jim Knox’s twist on the Jack Rose (he adds a splash of Cava) at the Farmer’s Table, 205 Commercial Street.

Mix your own: Chill your martini glass. In a shaker, combine plenty of ice, 2 oz Laird’s Applejack, ½ oz lime juice and ½ oz grenadine. Shake and strain, garnish with a twist of lemon.

Rusty Nail

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Nothing warms you up like the bite of Scotch whisky, and along with the herbal, honey flavor of Drambuie, this libation is balanced, but with a kick. Drambuie’s subtle sweetness has been a staple in Scotland for centuries, but is oft overlooked outside of this cocktail elsewhere. For a mellow evening, try a Rusty Nail in the sophisticated ambience of the Armory Lounge, 20 Milk Street.

Mix your own: Stir 1½ oz Scotch with ½ oz Drambuie in a shaker of crushed ice. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

White Russian

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This is a sweet treat, perfect for a nightcap on a chilly evening. The vodka gives it a bite, but the milk and smooth coffee liqueur mellow it out. If it’s really frosty outside, you can further fortify your Russian by substituting Baileys for the milk. Order your liquid dessert after a hearty Irish dinner at Bull Feeny’s, 375 Fore Street.

Mix your own: In a rocks glass, add ice, 2 oz vodka, 1 oz Kahlua and stir. Top with milk.

Old Fashioned

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I don’t think you can sip an Old Fashioned without feeling nostalgic and olde-timey, which fits right in with the vibe of fall. After apple picking or the state fair or whatever whimsical autumn activity you do, mix your whiskey, sugar and fruit into this sweet yet restorative cocktail. Try an Old Fashioned crafted by the sure hands of bartender John Myers at the Grill Room, 84 Exchange Street.

Mix your own: Muddle a twist of orange, one sugar cube, five dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of water in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice, 2 oz of whiskey and stir. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.


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The grandfather of old school, distinguished cocktail hour drinks, the Manhattan evokes a scholarly, “let’s get serious” vibe. Time to get back to school. This no frills rye whiskey based mix should be served straight up, and achingly cold for maximum waxing intellectual potential. The cocktailians at Spread, 100 Commercial Street, will impress you with their classic Manhattan.

Stir together 2 oz rye whiskey, ½ oz sweet vermouth and five dashes of Angostura bitters in a glass with plenty of ice. Stir it until your fingertips are frostbitten. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with one cherry.

Luxury hotels in Portland fill up fast this time of year, so if your holiday plans include a trip to the northern reaches of New England, go to Excellent Hotels for the best rates on 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in Portland.

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