Aspen Times Weekly: Offseason, Bloody Offseason

by Jeanne McGovern



328 E. Hyman Ave. (at the Wheeler Opera House)

Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bloody Marys start at $10, depending on the vodka. The bar includes roughly 50 different ingredients available for guests to mix their own.


Downhill Snapper Bloody Mary

from The St. Regis Aspen

tomato juice

1 ounce V8 juice

6 lemons, juiced

6 limes, juiced

1/2 ounce Bloody Mary seasoning

11/2 ounces Tabasco sauce

5 dill sprigs

5 basil leaves

2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

2 olives

1 pickle slice, for garnish

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Prepare Bloody Mary mix by combining tomato and V8 juices, lemon and lime juices as well as the Bloody Mary seasoning. Let the mixture marinate for 24 hours. When ready, add vodka, Tabasco sauce, muddled dill, basil and fresh cracked pepper. Pour over ice and garnish with olives, pickle slice and lime wedge.

YOU SURVIVED ANOTHER (or your first!) winter season in Aspen. Kudos. Congrats. Way to go.

But now — from the day the lifts close until the day the Food & Wine tents take over Wagner Park — is when you prove you’re a local. It’s when you dig deep to figure out why you love Aspen and why you just can’t leave.

Mud season, be damned. The spring offseason is your chance to relax and recharge. And if you’re like many of us at The Aspen Times, this is not going to take place while traipsing around the world. You’re here, in Aspen, for the duration. We feel your pain, people — and we’re here to help.

Last year, we offered you tips on how to fill the long days and slush-filled weeks ahead. This year, we’re cutting to the chase (because who really wants to go downvalley?). On the following pages we share with you our favorite places to enjoy Aspen’s favorite offseason cocktail: the Bloody Mary. Because we know that’s all you really want to do.

“And a hostess takes our orderCoffee, tea or something strongerTo start off the dayWell it’s a bloody Mary morning‘Cause I’m leavin’ baby somewhere in LA”– Willie Nelson, “Bloody Mary Morning”

Read on, drink up and revel in the quiet of the coming weeks … summer’s just around the corner.


EVERY GOOD OFFSEASON MORNING should begin with a leisurely breakfast (or brunch or lunch, depending on the weather outside and how well you weathered the storm that was the night before). And since we believe every good offseason morning should also begin with a Bloody Mary, this is a match made in heaven.

A few of our favorites? The Hickory House, where you can’t beat a Bloody Mary laced with owner Paul Dioguardi’s spicy bbq sauce, a pile of pork ribs, a pair of fried eggs and a plate of homemade biscuits doused with pork sausage gravy. And Over Easy Aspen, where variations on the standards definitely stand out — a Bloody Molly (bacon-infused vodka) served with a Hillbilly Benny (smoked bbq pork and caramalized onion), or a Bloody Maria (think tequila, baby) paired with a West Coast Benny (bacon, avocado, jalapeño salsa) perhaps? But no need to stop there. We were once told — at a Food & Wine Classic seminar, no less — that the Bloody Mary is “not just for brunch anymore,” so we’ll boldly suggest that you branch out and try a Bloody with more than just the aforementioned dishes. In fact, we think the Bloody Mary is the perfect offseason accompaniment for just about any meal. A little surf and turf to go with your bacon-and-shrimp-laced Bloody Mary? Bring it.


NOW THAT YOUR STOMACH is properly prepared, it’s time to fully embrace your Bloody Mary mission. By this, we mean experimenting and imbibing in all that Aspen’s bars have to offer.

First thing to note: Not every Aspen establishment is open in the offseason. Shame on them … but we get it (we’d probably close up shop too if we weren’t, well, a daily newspaper).

But fear not, there are still plenty of places to partake. We’re obviously partial to the Hickory House and Over Easy (yum!), but don’t read between the lines: These are not necessarily our favorite places to enjoy a Bloody Mary.

At the top of the list, on the weekends at least, is Justice Snow’s. The reason is simple: the Bloody Mary Bar (see “If You Go …”, opposite page). With dozens of ingredients to choose from — ranging from the ordinary (Cholula, olives, celery) to the extraordinary (pickled beets, Moroccan spices, kraut) — this is your chance to create your own concoction. Haven’t you always wanted to be a bartender? Or, at the very least, figure out what works — and more important, what doesn’t work — before creating your own in-home Bloody Mary bar.

A few other stops on this tour de Bloody Mary (call first, as some have limited offseason hours): HOPS Culture, where you can choose from 30 craft beers on tap as a sidecar to your Bloody; the St. Regis Aspen, home of the Downhill Snapper (see recipe, opposite page), which is purported to be a descendant of the first Bloody Mary that was perfected at the original St. Regis in Manhattan after Prohibition; and, when Snowmass awakes from its offseason slumber, Ricard, which boasts master mixologist Danielle Becker’s always creative “Bloody Brews.”


SO YOU’VE EATEN, YOU’VE DRANK … what’s next?

In offseason, more of the same is always an option — we call it the lather, rinse, repeat plan for beating the offseason blues. But we know, you might want more out of your day. Here are a few post-Bloody Mary tour ideas to whittle the time away.

In good weather: get outside already! Seriously, a Sunday afternoon stroll down the Rio Grande Trail or a slow spin to the Independence Pass gate can be conquered with a full belly and slight (ever-so-slight) buzz. Or, grab a Frisbee or a football and hit the park (note: There is nothing wrong with a catnap on the sidelines).

In bad weather: stay inside already! Nobody needs to bring in the summer season sicker than a dog. A few things we like to do include a visit to the Aspen Recreation Center (swim, skate, climb), a movie (the Isis is open all offseason), a mani/pedi (sandal season is just around the corner), and — yes, we’re going to say it — go downvalley to either the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool or the new Iron Mountain Hot Springs (if you don’t have designated driver, take the bus; and yes, we know, this isn’t an “indoor” activity, but the weather DV is sure to be better, or at least tolerable, for a dip in the hot waters).

Of course, as we said in the beginning, we know all you really want to do is relax and recharge this offseason. And so do we. Bloody Mary, anyone?

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