Toast the season | AspenTimes.com

Toast the season

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in our seasonal magazine, Winter In Snowmass. Find copies on stands where you find the Snowmass Sun.

Whether celebrating the New Year or just a great day on the slopes, 'tis the season for après ski. We might have lost the famous Mountain Dragon, but here are some other Snowmass bars that are turning up the heat.

Ricard

Ricard, now operated by Viceroy Snowmass, gets sun longer than any patio in Base Village and is located close to the action, right at the base of Fanny Hill.

A French-style restaurant, manager Danielle Becker has created a cocktail and beer selection that complements the flavors of the cuisine. Her festive hot-buttered rum involves pumpkin butter that she makes using real butter, pumpkin puree and spices. Mixed with pumpkin cordial and Cruzan Black Strap Rum, it just tastes like the holidays.

Also serving a build-your-own hot cocoa cocktail menu, Ricard has daily après specials. On Saturdays, a DJ will spin tunes on the Base Village plaza in earshot of all the restaurants, and Ricard will have its own live music on Fridays and Sundays.

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Nest

Slopeside on Assay Hill inside the Viceroy hotel, Nest serves up small bites that are perfect for lunch or a quick snack before heading back to the snow.

Andrea Rodriguez is aiming to serve "simple but superb" cocktails to complement the food offerings. Nest also boasts a selection of more than 40 beers, all made in Colorado.

Its pool is only open to guests and Very Viceroy cardholders, but anyone is welcome to have drinks by the fire pits on the patio. Nest serves an après menu of small bites all day, and drink specials from 3 to 5 p.m. Diners and imbibers can shuttle back to Base Village on one of the Viceroy's "luges."

Westin

The Westin Snowmass is under new management this year, and with that comes new food and drink menus. Food and beverage director Steven McClure describes the Vue Lounge in the hotel's lobby as a "contemporary, upscale, fast-paced bar" with cocktails and small bites on the menu.

Located directly off the slopes, the Vue Lounge also opens out onto the Westin's tiered patio. With fire pits and scenic views, the patio is the ideal place to celebrate a great ski day.

Using the best ingredients, the Vue perfects classics such as the Manhattan (Knob Creek bourbon, Grand Marnier and sweet vermouth) and the margarita (Patron anejo, Grand Marnier, sweet and sour and fresh-squeezed lime juice). The Vue also has a list of hot chocolate and coffee cocktails sure to warm up a cold day.

The Edge

Off the beaten path but right off the slopes, The Edge in the Timberline Condominiums is Snowmass Village's best-kept secret.

Focused on using only Colorado ingredients in their food, bar manager Billy Zukoff has tried to do that with the cocktails as well, while also adding his own twist to classic drinks. His Hot Toddy uses ginger-apple- infused whiskey, and he makes a "Colorado Mule" using the Roaring Fork Valley's own Woody Creek Vodka.

Après ski is not just about drinks here. Chef Jason DeBecker recently joined The Edge and is keeping the menu fresh with seasonal ingredients. Mediterranean-inspired tapas selections make for perfect snacks after a long day on the slopes.

Completing the après-ski vibe, The Edge also has live music on weekends throughout the winter.

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