Say, what’s in this drink?: 7 seasonal local sips

It’s cold outside, baby, pass the booze.

Holiday Candy Cane Liqueur Coldstream Clear(20% ABV)

There are a lot of icky, minty concoctions available around this time of year. This is not one of them. Coldstream makes reliably tasty vodka and liqueur, and its gift packs tend to fly off the shelves. Its candy cane liqueur is available on its own, too—but it is only around seasonally, so this is the chance to grab it. It'll complement hot chocolate or egg nog and is smooth enough to drink by itself. Candy cane martini, anyone?

Lake Rossignol Cranberry Lunenburg County Winery (13% ABV)

This is not an explicitly holiday beverage. In fact, you can find it just about any time. But what's family dinner without cranberry? Whether you prefer a fancy, homemade cranberry-orange sauce or the store-bought jelly with its beautiful imprints from the can, this Lunenburg-made cranberry wine is the ideal turkey companion.

Winter Craft Cider Bulwark Craft Cider (7% ABV)

Bulwark's winter cider is the coziest drink you can get at the liquor store. There's something inviting about cider as is, but this one is spiced as perfectly as apple pie. Although it's great straight out of the bottle, I would suggest (carefully) heating it in a pot over the stove, resulting in the perfect addition to your festive mug. The winter cider comes in a seasonal Nor'Easter Variety Pack with a sour cherry cider and a rum-spiked cider, but I'd sooner buy six bottles of the winter on its own. It's the best of the bunch.

Gingerbread Holiday Ale Breton Brewing (5.5% ABV)

This London-style ESB (extra special bitter) isn't bitter at all, nor is it as sweet as one might expect of a gingerbread-inspired beer. This is a subtle option for those who want to join in the holiday fun but would rather avoid a mouthful of festive. Made with ginger and cinnamon, this ale tastes like it should—beer—but the spice provides an extra little something.

JD Shore Canadian Rum Cream Halifax Distilling Co. (17% ABV)

Consider this the local alternative to Bailey's Irish cream. It's not just Maritime-made, it also tastes better. While it's not a seasonal release, this rum cream is great to have in the cupboard during winter as it pairs so well with hot drinks. Hot chocolate, coffee, tea—it works with almost everything. It can also add a touch of creamy goodness to a milkshake or poured over a fave holiday dessert.

All Lit Up Winter Brew Garrison Brewing Co. (7% ABV)

Similar to Breton's Gingerbread but on the stronger side, Garrison's All Lit Up is a subtly spiced brew perfect for a low-key party or a holiday movie night. The spiciness is less apparent, so it's more suited to fans of a traditional beer.

Cranberry Rosé Cider No Boats On Sunday (5.3% ABV)

When the "Holly Jolly Christmas" lyrics invited you to "have a cup of cheer," this may have been what they were talking about. The cranberry rosé flavour is the superior flavour of No Boats' Nova Scotian cider, and it's as much of a fireside beverage as it is a patio beverage. Bonus: It's a sparkling alternative for champagne flutes on New Year's Eve.

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