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Martini at the Stonehurst Manor, North Conway, NH

The History of New Hampshire Spirits


Drinks in New Hampshire are much the same as drinks in the rest of the U.S., but with a connection to history and local ingredients, here are some spirits with an interesting history in New Hampshire.

Hot Buttered Rum


Rum was first invented in the 17th century in the West Indies but quickly caught on in the American colonies where distillers imported molasses and quickly created a major industry. At the peak of the industry in 1770, six million gallons of molasses were imported into the colonies. Most of it became rum in New England’s 159 distilleries. Colonists started adding distilled rum to hot beverages such as toddies and nogs, and the hot buttered rum was born. Hot buttered rum contains rum, butter, hot water or cider, a sweetener and various spices and was a favorite drink in the fall and winter. Most New England distilleries closed in the 1800s, but rum production has recently been making a comeback. Many of these new distillers use the history of regional rum production for their inspiration.

Make it Yourself:

  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 2 Quarts Hot Water
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 6 Whole Cloves
  • 2 Cups Rum
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • Ground Nutmeg
  1. Combine the brown sugar, butter, salt and hot water in 5 quart slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours. Stir in rum.
  2. Ladle from the slow cooker into mugs, and top with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.


Smooth Martini


Known as America’s cocktail, there are many variations on the story of how the martini came to be, but the martini really became popularized during the prohibition era when gin was readily available because it didn’t require aging. After the repeal of prohibition, the drink became progressively dryer. By the 1970s and 80s the martini had become old-fashioned and was replaced by other cocktails. However, the martini made a resurgence in the 1990s with an explosion of new versions introduced.

Make it Yourself:

  • 2 ounces good-quality gin or vodka
  • Splash or 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice Cubes
  • Pimento-stuffed green olives (large ones are best)
  • Lemon Twist

1. Chill martini glasses by placing in the freezer.
2. Pour gin or vodka and vermouth into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Either shake or stir until cold for at least 10 seconds.
3. Strain into a chilled martini cocktail glass. Serve straight up (no ice in the glass).
4. Garnish with either a couple of olives or a lemon twist.


Cranberry Cocktail

Cocktail 1

The cranberry cocktail goes by many names including the Cape Codder, Sea Breeze and Madras. There are as many variations on the drink as there are names, but the traditional recipe stems from New England ingredients. The cranberry has been grown in New England since before the pilgrims arrived and frequents many of the dishes served in the area.

Make it Yourself:

  • 3 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz vodka
  • Lime wedge for garnish

1. Pour the ingredients into a highball glass with ice cubes.
2. Stir well.
3. Squeeze the lime juice into the drink.
4. Drop the lime wedge into the glass.

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