Hot Shots

Local ingredients enhance these cold-weather drinks – whether for a New Year’s party or a snuggle by the hearth


Coffee Milk White Russian
The traditional White Russian is a simple mix of vodka, Kahlua, and cream. But you could easily swap a drizzle of Autocrat or Dave’s Coffee Milk for the Kahlua, and if you want to try some smooth local spirits, procure some KEEL Vodka. Go easy on the coffee syrup; that powerful taste is packed with sugar, but luckily KEEL vodka is only 58 calories per serving.  

Cider Hot Toddy
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make a hot toddy with apple cider – but this is New England, so why wouldn’t you? There are a dozen orchards across the state that produce apple cider, and you’d be – well – hard-pressed not to try them. The main ingredient, though, is the whiskey, and here we recommend a bottle of Sons of Liberty bourbon. Meanwhile, Sons of Liberty also released an Apple Cider Cocktail in a can.

Mulled Wine
Come winter, many of us swear by a mug of warmed-up wine with spices. Most Rhode Island wines stand on their own, and there’s no reason to taint them with cinnamon sticks and orange slices. But if you have a bottle of local red to spare – say, a Newport Vineyards merlot, or a Rhode Island Red by Carolyn’s Sakonnet – you’ll probably relish the result. Sweeten the deal with honey by Annie B’s or Aquidneck Honey.  

Hot Cacao
There are a zillion ways to make hot cocoa, but Enjoyful Foods offers a very original take: cacao, the bulbous plant that is the base for chocolate. Not only do Enjoyful cacao packets come in four varieties, but they’re nutritious and easy to experiment with. 

Hot Buttered Rum
Rum was once a hallmark of the New England coast, but Rhode Island is down to one major rum-maker: Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co., which produces Thomas Tew. Buttered rum is quite the concoction, but once you’ve boiled the water, cinnamon, ground cloves, and, of course, butter, you’ve got yourself a savory cold-weather treat. 

What do you spike your eggnog with? It’s a heated topic, even if you drink it cold, so you might consider visiting White Dog Distilling in Pawtucket, which makes small-batch whiskey, rum, gin, and even moonshine. Plus, a White Dog bottle makes a great gift.