Fall finally allows us an excuse to set aside the girly frozen fruit drinks and cuddle up with a good hot toddy, Irish coffee, mulled wine or similar seasonal libation guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. It gets cold in Connecticut and after a day in the brisk outdoors, a little liquid comfort goes a long way to chase away the chill. Here are five places around the state that know how to deal with the autumn shivers.
196 Crown St
New Haven, CT 06510
When a restaurant lists its hot toddy as one of the top three reasons to come in out of the cold (the others being its massive fireplace and cinnamon-spiked apples), the bartenders better get it right – and at Kelly’s they do. Jeane, in particular, knows how to make a killer hot toddy. She uses brandy, lemon and honey in fashioning this classic. Hosts Patrick Hogan and Lisa Doherty offer a warm and cozy atmosphere and an even warmer and cozier menu. In the cooler weather, they suggest starting with a hot toddy before tucking into the house specialty – a double pork chop served not only with the above-mentioned cinnamon-spiked apples but also with a side of creamy macaroni and cheese.
Related: Top Frozen Yogurt In Connecticut
136 Prospect Hill Road
East Windsor, CT 06088
Irish coffee at an Italian restaurant, is there such a thing? The staff at Sofia’s in East Windsor says “of course!” Sofia’s uses only Jameson’s Irish whiskey, rated one among the world’s top 20 whiskies by Proof66. For purists who believe that at an Italian restaurant, one should order only Italian – whether that be Pellegrino or cappuccino – Sofia’s has an Italian option for Irish coffee drinkers. Get your espresso with a shot of Galliano liqueur. Enjoy this treat for only $5.25.
900 Main St
Hartford, CT 06103
At the Dish Bar & Grill, when someone asks for an espressotini, the bartenders don’t laugh or furrow their brow in consternation – they just make one. A clever caffeine kick starter, this mix of fresh-brewed espresso, stoli vanilla vodka and tuaca (a vanilla citrus liqueur) is normally shaken with ice. But according to host Justin, Dish is happy to serve it piping hot. He guarantees it would warm up Doctor Zhivago let alone someone coming in from the cold streets outside this bar, located in the old Sage Allen Department Store in Hartford. Justin says Dish also makes great hot-buttered rum and hot cider, which go for $2 less than the espressotini.
694 Main St S
Woodbury, CT 06798
What non-alcoholic drink screams Connecticut in the fall more than hot mulled cider? Citizens of Woodbury who crave that classic go to Carole Peck’s Good News Café, which is also one of the region’s finest restaurants. Known for its chicken tortilla soup, warm cauliflower flan smoked salmon and other gourmet delights, the Good News Café also has a full bar. And when the wind howls, the bar at Good News Cafe is full and the mulled cider flows.
Related: Top Margaritas In Connecticut
488 Summer St
Stamford, CT 06901
Essence of Cocoa is not a kids’ drink at Stamford’s Dragonfly Restaurant and Lounge. As if the rich Godiva Dutch Chocolate Vodka that’s poured into the creamy, milky hot chocolate isn’t enough “essence of cocoa” on its own, explains the perky hostess Stacy, the barkeeps here add in a shot of Tia Maria to seal the deal. Sadly, the special drink is not discounted during the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour, but as the bar stays open well after the kitchen closes, this wonderful warming libation is readily available for the after-theater crowd.