We Tried Cutwater's Bottled Hot Cocktails And Here Are Our Honest Thoughts

cutwater heaters
We Tried Cutwater’s Bottled Hot CocktailsAllison Arnold


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Nothing says cozy like a cocktail near the fire on a wintry day. Got a warm cocktail, like a hot toddy? Even better. So when Cutwater Spirits, makers of some pretty delicious canned cocktails, launched Cutwater Heaters, a line of high-proof mixers for making hot cocktails, we knew we had to try them out.

There are three flavors, each made with real Cutwater liquor (no mystery alcohol here): Hot Buttered Rum, Vodka Apple Pie, and Whiskey Hot Toddy. The 80 proof concentrate comes in a glass bottle and has 40% ABV. Simply mix 1.5 ounces (a shot) of the mixer with hot water, and you have a ready-to-drink hot cocktail that should taste just like one you'd order at a bar.

I was skeptical. I’m not the biggest fan of canned cocktails, so that was already one strike. But I was intrigued by the premise of an easy-to-make hot cocktail, which I haven’t seen in the ready-to-drink cocktail space.

I poured hot water over 1.5 ounces of each high-proof mixer. Following these measurements, each bottle can make eight cocktails, although you can play around with the ratios based on preference. Here are my thoughts on each flavor:

Hot Buttered Rum

cutwater heaters hot buttered rum
Allison Arnold

The Hot Buttered Rum was everything I thought it would be—buttery with notes of cinnamon and vanilla—but it did have just a touch of an artificial taste to it.

Vodka Apple Pie

cutwater heaters vodka apple pie
Allison Arnold

I was most surprised by the Vodka Apple Pie, which I thought would taste the most artificial and sweet. It smelled just like a caramel apple and tasted just like one of those Tootsie Roll Caramel Apple Pops, but with a hint of warm spices.

Whiskey Hot Toddy

cutwater heaters whiskey hot toddy
Allison Arnold

The Whiskey Hot Toddy was surprisingly my least favorite. Maybe that’s because it’s the only one that’s a traditional cocktail, so I had high expectations. It was lemony and bright, featuring Cutwater’s Bourbon. It wasn’t a bad drink, just not as unique as the others. Then again, a hot toddy is pretty basic flavor-wise.

The Verdict

All in all, for being a canned cocktail skeptic, I was surprised by how flavorful the mixers were. They were made to be bar-quality, which for the most part, I think they live up to, considering most hot cocktails are pretty simple. They’re not what you’d get at a fancy cocktail bar, but they are pretty similar to the hot toddy I’ve ordered at a neighborhood bar to soothe my winter cold—which hasn’t always been the most delicious thing I’ve tasted, but it gets the job done while being pretty tasty.

While I wouldn’t necessarily sip on these regularly, I would on a chilly day, especially when I don’t feel like rounding up all of the ingredients to mix my own hot cocktail. I would also bring a bottle or two to a holiday party or Friendsgiving, where they’re easy enough to mix, but are more fun than a typical bottle of wine or six-pack. If you're a hot cocktail fan, the Cutwater Heaters are a must.

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