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The Aspen Cocktail, made by Jim Meehan.
A Manhattan bartender’s twist upon the classic Chancellor cocktail, which substitutes Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey for Scotch. Made by Jim Meehan for the Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE at the St. Regis Aspen Resort.
- 2 Ounces Stranahan’s Whiskey
- 3/4 Ounces Dolin Blanc
- 1/2 Ounce port
- 1 Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
- 3 brandied cherries, to garnish
At the base of the powdered slopes of Aspen Mountain, stands Snow Lodge, a favorite hang out for skiers and snowboarders finishing a day of sun, speed and vertical. On the outside deck, snow-happy groups arrive for winter aperitivo hour. DJs spin and toasts of the ultimate après-ski cocktail, Spritz, begin.
This year, Snow Lodge chose NYC's Dante–one of the World's 50 Best Bars and America's Best Bar of 2020– to host the winter festivities. Open for a European-style breakfast and lunch, Dante's cocktails bring the flavors and traditions of the Italian Alps and New York City to the American Rockies.
This exclusive Spritz cocktail recipe blends the bitter notes of Alpine botanicals found in Italian vermouth with the bite of citrus. It takes on a scarlet color from a throat-warming Raspberry brandy and a dry Mediterranean Rosé. Instead of the customary Prosecco, mineral water, and scarlet Aperol, this Spritz calls for more ingredients and less alcohol, so that night skiing and a half-day of backcountry trekking are still an option.
“Though rosé and raspberry generally elicit springtime seasonality, I wanted to create a cocktail that would feel just as appropriate on a wintery ski slope patio as it would in a New York June," said bartender extraordinaire AK Hada. “Ideal for the daytime, this low ABV spritz has a good balance of bitterness and spice to fruit and floral.”
Dante also prepares a Bellini, its flagship Garibaldi, and the Espresso Martini. A traditional Aperol Spritz is on the menu, too, but their original “Halfdays Spritz” is something else. Cin Cin!
Halfdays Spritz Recipe
2 oz Whispering Angel Rosé
0.25 oz St. George Raspberry Brandy
0.75 oz Carpano Bianco Vermouth
0.5 oz Select Aperitivo
0.25 oz Vanilla Syrup
3 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Orange Wedge as Garnish
The Best Après-Ski Cocktails in Aspen
Nothing beats a fireside cocktail after hours of skiing. The ability to dress down and warm up with your fellow travelers is as much of the Aspen Experience as the mountain itself.
Aspen has countless après-ski bars and lounges, suitable for all preferences, but beyond the atmosphere, there are a handful of handcrafted cocktails made for après-ski. We recently asked Jacob Johnson, head bartender at element 47 bar and 2017 Bartender Shootout Champion, to share his favorite cocktails to stir and sip around Aspen.
What Makes a Perfect Après-Ski Cocktail
Most bartenders and après-enthusiasts would agree that après cocktails should be light and quaffable, with a fantastic garnish (an Aperol spritz is a great example). Avoid overly-filling drinks before dinner. Get something you can order two or three of and not feel uncomfortable. For Jacob, “bubbles are a must.”
Without further ado, here are the best après-ski cocktails in Aspen.
Little Dragon at Element 47
If you’re in The Little Nell lobby, make your way to the element 47 bar and order the Little Dragon, our riff on a margarita-spicy, slightly embittered. Patron, Grand Marnier, grapefruit, lime, Aperol, and a tajin rim make this refreshing and easy to drink.
For those not keen on tequila, order a classic hot toddy or vintage cognac Brandy Crusta.
Scarcelli at Hooch
For clear cravings, stop into Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar for one of their seasonal elixirs. This winter, we love the Scarcelli, made with Haymans Old Tom Gin, Del Professore Vermouth, Suze, Salers Aperitif, and orange.
Available winter 2018. For current offerings, browse their menu.
White Chocolate Raspberry in The Limelight Lounge
This après-ski cocktail combines vodka, white chocolate Godiva liquor, raspberries, chocolate, and cream. No dessert necessary.
Stop by The Limelight Lounge and ask Chrissy, head bartender, to create it for you. If inclined, you can also make it at home here’s the original recipe from Chrissy herself.
Bartender’s Choice at Chair 9
For other bars around Aspen, Jacob always recommends ordering “dealer’s choice” drinks. His reasoning? “These bartenders spend minimum 30 hours per week behind bars and know the best things to offer. No menu can portray that kind of information.”
Bonus: The Sun Also Rises
This whiskey-based cocktail was the recipe that won Jacob the title of “Bartender Shootout Champion” in 2017. For this recipe, Jacob was inspired by a small town in Spain named Ronda.
“There’s a particular cafe that overlooks the Puente Nuevo and was the spot that inspired Hemingway to write the book “The Sun Also Rises.” The cocktail utilizes ingredients commonly used in Spanish culture, but it’s meant to appeal to an American palate. Strong and finesse, I wanted to create something that could withstand the test of time and be available both at home and a professional setting,” says Jacob.
Here’s the recipe for those willing to recreate it at home.
- 2 oz Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon
- .5 oz Sierra Maestro Oloroso Sherry (15 Year)
- 1 teaspoon Bols Crème de Cacao White
- 1 teaspoon Pernod Absinthe Supérieure
- Pinch of Salt
- Rosemary Ice Ball
For the best après-ski cocktails, stop into one of The Nell’s fine dining restaurants or bars: element 47 bar, Ajax Tavern, and Chair 9. Each offers a menu of unique and traditional recipes made by bar masters.
This Aspen Cocktail Festival Takes 'Après Ski' to the Next Level
The Après Ski Cocktail Classic combines the best of the ski and drinking worlds.
The après ski scene in Aspen is so legendary, it has a festival devoted to it.
A few years back, a group that worked on HBO&rsquos US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen (known as the "Sundance of Comedy") was looking for a new project after that event's final run in 2007. Kevin Haasarud says that he and fellow producer Joe Lang "spent a few summers trying to figure out what we could bring to the area to give us a great excuse to be in town each March."
"We&rsquore both avid skiers, and my wife Kim&mdashwho also happens to be a James Beard-honored mixologist&mdashkept mixing up wonderful libations for us as we scratched our heads wondering what to do," Haasarud says. "It didn&rsquot seem to be a stretch to see how much fun creating an experiential environment bringing together the best of après with the best of craft spirits could be."
The fifth edition of the Après Ski Cocktail Classic was held last month, complete with a pop-up Hendrick's bar at the top of Ajax Mountain, hot toddies to start the day at Ajax Tavern, cocktail demonstrations and seminars, and a sleigh ride to dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse.
6 cocktail recipes with flavors of Southeast Asia
This catch-all South East Asian cocktail is part of a growing list of alternative martinis.
10 ounces of Hangar One Kaffir Lime vodka
4 ounces of chilled lemon grass tea
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
4 sprigs of fresh lemon grass
4 thinly sliced, small pieces of fresh ginger
Pour all of the liquid ingredients into a shaker 3/4 full of cracked ice. Shake for one minute, then let stand for a full minute. Rub the piece of ginger around the inside of the bowls of four frozen martini glasses. Strain the martini into the glasses. Garnish each glass with a spring of lemon grass and one thin slice of ginger .
Lemongrass Lychee Martini
This recipe calls for canned lychee juice. You might get creative and try soaking some fresh ones with sugar and water, instead.
Lemon Grass Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 stalks lemongrass, cut into thirds
For each Lemon Grass Lychee Martini:
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Lemon Grass Simple Syrup
1 ounce lychee juice (from canned lychees)
1 lemon wedge
1 lemon twist
For Simple Syrup, mix sugar, water and lemon grass pieces in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low simmer 10 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 2 hours. Strain. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (This makes enough simple syrup for 8 martinis.)
For each Martini, fill cocktail shaker half full with cracked ice. Add vodka, simple syrup and lychee juice shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glass. Squeeze juice from lemon wedge into martini. Rub lemon twist around rim of glass, then drop into martini.
Courtesy of www.foodreference.com
Chili Martini Cocktail Recipe
A sweet cocktail that supplies a strong kick.
1 chili, Thai ( or more to your heat preference)
1.5 oz vodka
2 oz peach or nectarine juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Clean the chilies and remove the seeds. Muddle the chilies with simply syrup and Vodka. Drain liquid in shaker and then add fruit juice. Shake well with ice. Serve in martini glass. Garnish with chili on rim. For a sweeter treat, sugar the rim .
4 sprigs mint
15mL sugar syrup
45mL white rum
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 stick lemongrass
1 cocktail shaker
150mL soda water
Halve the lemongrass stick widthways, finely chop bottom half and muddle with mint and sugar syrup in cocktail shaker. Add rum and ice, shake vigorously, pour all into suitable glass, top with soda water. Using the back of the knife, crush cut end of remaining half of lemongrass and garnish drink with it, crushed end inside the glass.
Courtesy of www.cocktailmaking.co.uk
Infused Chili Vodka
There’s no need to spend umpteen dollars on expensive flavored vodka. It’s easy to make your own.
2 fat red chillies, plus extra for bottling
1 liter vodka
Slice the chillies and mix with the vodka in a large bottle or jug. Leave for 4-5 hrs. Strain out the chillies and pour back into a bottle to store until needed. If gifting, decant into smaller glass bottles, pop a whole chilli in each and label.
Ginger not Mary Ann Cocktail
A really cute name for a great recipe.
1.5 oz Charbay Meyer Lemon Vodka
.5 oz Canton Ginger Liquor
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Galangal Lemongrass Syrup (recipe follows)
Combine vodka, ginger liquor, lemon juice and galangal lemongrass syrup. Pour over ice into a tall glass and add ginger ale to taste.
For Galangal syrup, add one cup sugar to one cup water in a small saucepan. Add shredded 1 chopped galangal root and 1 stalk lemongrass to the mixture. Slow cook for 5-10 minutes until sugar has dissolved completely and let sit over night or until completely cool. Strain well. Refrigerate.
***Explore the world party scene with 101 PLACES TO GET F*CKED UP BEFORE YOU DIE. Part travel guide, part drunken social commentary, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die may have some of the most hilarious scenes and straight-up observations of youth culture of any book you’ve ever read.***
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TALES OF THE ASPEN COCKTAIL BEHIND EVERY BOOZY BEVERAGE IS A STORY …
Universally understood, only one word is necessary to spark celebration: Of the end of a workday, the beginning of a night out, or simply toast to family, friends, fun, health, and good fortune. Aspen—hands down the partiest mountain town in Colorado, we think—has long gone pro. Proof positive: the colorful array of original cocktails that honor Aspen’s cool, quirky nature, shaken and stirred by creative bartenders who keep our whistles wet, year after year. Cheers, my dears!
As many of you know, the famed Aspen Crud was conceived as a means to help hard-working miners evade Prohibition laws at the historic J-Bar, downgraded to a soda fountain during those years (1920-1933).
“They’d spike your milkshake with a bottle of bourbon they had hidden in the wall of the bar,” says former lead bartender Ryan Sterling. “The 10th Mountain Division guys, when training for the war, would come here with the miners and enjoy an Aspen Crud, long after Prohibition ended.”
Today’s version: two ounces of Jim Beam in a 14-ounce glass of whipped vanilla ice cream and milk. “Traditionally it was much more than that,” Sterling clarifies. “It was a hard day in the mine—you didn’t want a milkshake, you wanted six ounces of Jim Beam!”
Except it wasn’t called Jim Beam yet back then: The spirit was rebranded in 1933 for James B. Beam, who rebuilt the company post-Prohibition.
Jimmy’s Bodega / Jimmy’s: An American Restaurant
“The original cocktail at Dead Rabbit NYC is a mezcal-based drink called the Port of New York,” says proprietor Jimmy Yeager, who created the pink Puerto de Aspen with Jimmy’s bar manager Chris Kelner and sommelier Greg Van Wagner. “Our main change is using tequila and adding Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur to get the spicy, smoky overtones.”
Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and fresh watermelon juice sweeten the bottled beverage, served over Jimmy’s signature BFICs (big f—kin ice cubes). Yeager introduced the bottled cocktail program upon opening Bodega in June 2014. So successful it was that the formula was soon adopted at Jimmy’s, too.
“With so little time to prepare the Bodega I wanted to still offer an exciting cocktail program but not have to train a bunch of new bartenders to make complex cocktails and be distracted by such complexity instead of paying attention to our guests,” Yeager explains. “Bottled cocktails ensure consistency and quality by having them all made in advance to our specifications.”
Those who call it a cop out, think again: Waitstaff are able to self-serve, eliminating delays in getting drinks on the double.
Fun fact: the vodka-and-tomato-juice cocktail that preceded the Bloody Mary was imported from Paris to the first St. Regis Resort in New York City circa 1934. Concerned that guests might take offense at the moniker, barkeep Fernand Petiot renamed it the “Red Snapper.” Today, every St. Regis property around the globe claims its own signature spin: Osaka’s Shogun Mary blends gin, yuzu, soy, and wasabi in a martini glass Mexico City’s Sangrita Maria is made with mezcal and puréed chiles. Aspen’s Downhill Snapper (1992) is inspired by Colorado’s change of seasons. According to “The Bloody Mary” hardbound St. Regis recipe book, “The subtle coolness of dill evokes winter basil and refreshing citrus are redolent of bright summer days.” Thankfully, that’s about as weird as it gets.
“We’ve all been there before,” says former senior bartender Alex Ervin, introducing his exquisitely refreshing cucumber-vodka cocktail. “The night starts off normal enough: Meet up with a few friends for some drinks, seems chill. Then someone shows up with a bunch of weed gummies and mushrooms. A few hours later you’re howling at the moon and entertaining all sorts of debauchery. Some friends go missing, not to be seen until the following day … weird nights happen in Aspen.”
It only sounds vaguely ominous basil, lemon, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and soda water keep the drink light. Which may make them go down a bit too fast. Next stop: weirdness.
Bird is the word at Steakhouse No. 316—even though this instant classic created by main bartender Karen Miller a few summers ago cedes menu billing to newer creations. Miller prepares her “deconstructed grapefruit” in a Collins glass from a blend of house-infused lemongrass vodka, St. Germain, Peychaud’s Bitters, and her own fizzy limonata. The beverage is bright and buzzy, just like its inspiration.
“(Miners) would throw a canary in the mine to make sure it wasn’t gaseous,” Miller explains. “If the canary came out, it was safe to go down into the mine if not, they didn’t.”
Drama reigns at Chefs Club: Spirits director Matt Corbin’s latest creation is delivered via glowing-red lantern, harking to Aspen’s rich prospecting history. A spinoff of Corbin’s popular Gypsy Smoke cocktail, the Miner’s Light stirs together Woody Creek Distillers rye, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Amaro Lucano, and black-walnut bitters the glass arrives inside a lantern full of smoke thanks to cola-soaked maple and aspen-bark chips combined with rough-ground spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, clove).
“The first thing we do when we taste a cocktail is smell it,” Corbin says. “So when you allow part of that cocktail to come out and go to the guests…it pulls them in, and creates an experience for everyone at the table or bar.”
Thirsty? Chefs Club hosts the Edible Communities Good Spirits National Tour when it hits Aspen on August 10 (see sidebar, below).
element 47 at The Little Nell
Seeing is believing when it comes to the Margarita 47 at The Little Nell’s element 47—both drink and restaurant named for the atomic number of silver. Made to order tableside on a custom-built cart since 2015, the frosty, silky, $47 concoction comprises top-shelf Roca Patrón, Grand Marnier, fresh lime, and an essential ingredient: liquid nitrogen.
“It’s pretty boozy because it’s four ounces of alcohol,” says bar manager Ricardo Leyvas, who maintains a serene, blender-free establishment. “When you use liquid nitrogen, the flavors concentrate. You have to stir very slowly to create tiny frozen ice crystals. To make four at a time, you’re stirring for, like, 10 minutes! It’s a workout.”
The dazzling finale: edible silver flakes, scattered over top like snow.
“While I’d love to present a new cocktail from our carefully crafted, trend-pushing, seasonally changing cocktail list—preferably one with cold-processed watermelon juice and organic, small-batch cucumber vodka house-infused with local mint and lime, which happens to be named after an Aspen summer—I cannot,” says Campo de Fiori’s Laura Betti (pictured at left). “The cocktail most synonymous with Aspen is unarguably the Campo Espresso Martini. Locals and tourists alike have been returning for this top-secret, seven-ingredient masterpiece for over a decade.”
The icing: “We can whip one up in the amount of time most restaurants brew a shot of espresso.”
Betti proves it—in a whirlwind 20 seconds. Poured to the brim of a pre-frozen martini glass, the foamy, cappuccino-colored quaff is sprinkled with a hypnotic swirl of espresso dust.
“Some nights we’ll make 100,” adds bar manager Chris Carmichael. So really, he reiterates, no need to apologize in advance when ordering one.
Someone convinced Woody Creek Distillers to create Escobar-branded vodka? Only in Aspen! The namesake mule at Grey Lady also includes Gosling’s ginger beer, a splash of fresh lime, and a shake of Angostura bitters, the latter liquid creating the effect of a foggy morning on Nantucket, where the bar owners claim roots (or, perhaps, hazy recollection of a late night underground?). Bonus: A chewy garnish of candied ginger to take the edge off.
While all 17 specialty cocktails at the Red Onion are named after Aspen Mountain trails—the joint is our OG ski-bum bar since 1892, after all—the Corkscrew Manhattan is bartender Pat Sewell’s favorite. Fitting, since the watering hole stocks a whopping 260 whiskeys.
“We keep Woody Creek Distillers rye in this barrel, which gives a nice oaky flavor,” Sewell says, pointing to a mini cask perched behind him, looker’s right. Part-owner and general manager Brad Smith believes the vessel came from a Kentucky cooperage, where the Red Onion logo was added. Recalling a luscious powder day, the modern Corkscrew Manhattan is juiced up with Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur.
“Skiing,” Smith concludes of the cocktail theme, “that is why we all came and why we all stay here.”
Call it a born winner: Created by then-bartender Lev Hofmann, Rustique Bistro’s Aspen Fresh won the Aspen Cocktail Classic in 2005. The original recipe calls for rarely-in-season lemon cucumbers, muddled, plus Pearl Pomegranate vodka, fresh lime, and POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, shaken and served up in a martini glass.
“It’s like an Aspen spa—cucumbers on your eyes and all,” says Rustique owner Rob Ittner, adding that they were writing food recipes using POM Wonderful for Aspen owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick at the time. “We were thinking of calling it ‘The Aspen Spa’ rules of the Classic back then (required) the name to have ‘Aspen’ in it.”
In a way, Rustique was defending the champion title sister operation, Range Restaurant, won the 2004 Cocktail Classic with bartender Ben Sands’s Aspen Sugar Daddy (vodka, triple sec, Amarula cream liqueur, pomegranate juice, fresh lime, sugared rim). That recipe was featured in the 2005 Food & Wine Cocktails book and earned national press.
“A producer saw it on a plane into Aspen and casted him on ‘The Bachelorette’ TV show as a result,” Ittner adds. “Ben lasted a few episodes but did not find love on that show.”
Champagne + vodka + Blood Orange San Pellegrino + ice = Fancy Ryan, a popular mountain sipper named for beloved Snowmass patron Ryan Williams.
“He used to spend a lot of time at the High Alpine Bar,” says manager Whitney Gordon, Gwyn’s daughter. “Originally he’d come in and drink Grey Goose and Blood Orange San Pellegrino. One day (bartender) Aly (Romanus) told him he needed to be fancier, and added Champagne. The name, Fancy Ryan, stuck. Those who knew him ordered it when he was with them and it became a tribute after he passed away from cancer a few years ago. No garnish. We generally do them in plastic (cups) so they can go out to the deck.”
Leave it to locals to turn wholesome green juice into a hedonistic wake-up call: The Garden of Aspen doses a rocks glass of fresh-pressed fruits and veggies (spinach, cucumber, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon) with a healthy pour of Breckenridge Distillery vodka. Aspen Kitchen general manager Marc Ellert-Beck’s intention was pure, first offering the lush elixir sans alcohol. That lasted about a minute.
“Adding vodka has turned out to be the more popular version,” quips Ellert-Beck, who suggests Ketel One Citroen in a twist. “Not quite the Garden of Eden but the Garden of Aspen.”
House-made ginger beer elevates the Cooper Street Collins, notes John Borie, pouring live from the second-floor lounge at bb’s. The longtime local bartender, musician, emcee, and man about town boosts his frothy gin cocktail’s sweet-spice quotient with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur.
“It’s a new, refreshing drink for the dog days of summer,” Borie says. Meanwhile, “I’ve been on the menu here three years.”
When Alexis Kendall opened the bar at Bosq last June, she couldn’t resist naming a cocktail in homage to Aspen’s most cherished exotic species. Spotted: Cougar Juice, a pale-pink, sweet-sour blend of Hangar One vodka, TYKU cucumber sake, and a juicy threesome (watermelon, cucumber, lemon). Capture this beast at least once. Grrrrr.
So delectable that it enjoys a special box on the menu, the frozen Game Changer tames fiery spice with Southern charm. Boasting two kinds of rum, OJ, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and a dash of fresh nutmeg, the frosty beverage from Home Team outposts in Charleston, S.C., is a brain-freezing reminder that Aspen was overdue for authentic ’cue.
Since sun worshippers without private-pool access will lament Sky’s falling for the next 300-plus days and counting, perhaps it’s time to crown La Piscine as Aspen’s nouveau-chic cocktail in memoriam. This traditional French pastime (“swimming pool” en français) drops a fistful of ice into a glass of rosé. Sure, La Piscine may lack spirit, but it quenches thirst better than straight rosé—already a favorite patio-pounder year-round.
Batch at Roaring Fork Beer Company, Carbondale
Sure, it may seem a stretch regarding this story’s Aspen-inspired protocol—Roaring Fork Beer Company (RFBC) owners Chase Engel and wife, Aly Sanguily, recently opened Batch on Main Street in Carbondale. However, The Blind Armadillo, named for Engels’s family ranch in Texas, leads the pack toward the valley’s latest trend: beer cocktails.
“We don’t have wine or hard alcohol yet,” admits Sanguily, a self-proclaimed tequila-or-wine imbiber. “It makes you feel like you have a cocktail—not just a beer.”
The Armadillo combines syrups made exclusively by Carbondale Soda Company—Szechuan peppercorn, pineapple, and serrano chile—with RFBC Freestone Extra Pale Ale over ice. The result: sparkly citrus nuances with a tongue-numbing (eventually) kick. “A little something extra” is the Aspen way, anyway—even in Carbondale.
Studio MPM / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Similar to the mochatini, the midnight martini recipe skips the chocolate, turning it into a short two-ingredient vodka cocktail. It's quite interesting in its simplicity and offers some possibilities for experimentation.
The basic recipe requires vodka and the coffee liqueur of your choice. To ramp up the caffeinated aspect, pour on of those coffee vodkas instead. We also highly recommend the optional cinnamon syrup to give the drink a little extra dimension.
2. Peach Bellini Slush
Keep cool with the Peach Bellini Slush. Make a traditional peach bellini fun by freezing it into a slush. Serve with slices of fresh peaches and you've got something the entire guest list with fawn over.
- 3 cups of diced frozen peaches
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 cups of sparkling wine of choice
- Peach slices (garnish)
Add the peaches, sugar, ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth. Add sparkling wine and pulse until fully incorporated. Divide into glasses and top with a peach slice! Enjoy!
Libations: Mixing up the winning drinks from Aspen Cocktail Classic
There were 13 stops on this year’s Aprés Ski Cocktail Classic Pub Crawl, which happily was held March 17 … aka St. Patrick’s Day. So, 13 bartenders and bar managers partnered with 13 different liquors (or in HOPS’ case, Red Bull) to create 13 unique cocktails for the occasion.
Pub Crawl participants and a selected jury of “experts” enjoyed the warm, sunny St. Patty’s Day weather while visiting all the aprés locations, or as many as they could make it to in the four hours, to taste the handcrafted cocktails and vote on their favorites.
Winning this year’s Jury Award for Best Cocktail was Bad Harriet — which has been featured in an ATW libations — located in the basement of the historic Aspen Times building beside the Hotel Jerome.
Bad Harriet manager Jessie Kneitel and bartender Justin McDuffie were partnered with Monkey Shoulder, a blended malt Scotch whisky, to create their award-winning cocktail called Spring Fever.
“We were paired with Monkey Shoulder scotch and were really excited because that’s one of our favorite spirits as a bar team to mix into cocktails. There are a lot of people out there that feel they don’t enjoy scotch in cocktails, and one of the most satisfying things we can do as bartenders is bring a lesser known or less widely preferred spirit to new light for guests,” Kneitel said.
“After weeks of all the incredible and nonstop snow we were inspired by recent sunshine and blue skies to create ‘Spring Fever’ — made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, chamomile grappa, spiced pear brandy, apple bitters and lemon. It’s served up, topped with a light honey-chamomile foam and sprinkled with bee pollen and chamomile flowers. The right cocktail can bring you places and change your outlook for the day this one brings us to sunny patios looking out on the green grass of the mountain and we hope it does that for our guests, as well!”
The winner of the coveted People’s Choice Award for Best Cocktail was another newcomer to the Aspen bar scene, 7908.
Matt Corbin, 7908’s director of spirits, created Laughter in Paradise, which featured Hennessy as the bar’s partner liquor.
“I am so excited to participate in the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic for the third year now,” Corbin said. “In regards to 7908 (which opened in summer 2018), I am so excited to showcase our cocktail program. It is something our team has been working on for the past year in anticipation for the Cocktail Classic.”
If you weren’t able to make it to the Cocktail Classic this year, no worry. We were able to procure the winning recipes for these two cocktails to share them with you so you can enjoy them at your next aprés celebration.
Libations was created by beloved Aspen Times publisher Gunilla Asher, who died June 2, 2014 , after a brave battle with cancer. Cheers – to Gunner!