Gunner’s Libations: Marble Distilling Co. pours compassion for Lake Christine firefighters via two special-edition vodkas
The Summer of 2018 will be remembered by many as being spent in a smoke-filled daze: The Lake Christine Fire ravaged more than 12,500 acres of Basalt and El Jebel.
“It was surreal—you could see the whole mountain on fire,” says Marble Distilling Co. (MDC) founder and head distiller Connie Baker, who operates the distillery, tasting room and boutique inn on Main Street in Carbondale. “Surreal. There’s no other way to describe it.”
While business slowed, MDC was not gravely impacted; one guy who worked the door of the venue’s comedy night, however, lost a home.
“All we could do was buy him drinks,” Baker says. “We did what we could.”
It wasn’t enough, she admits, adding that MDC considered hosting an event to benefit local firefighters who toiled in the heat for months to contain the flames. Ultimately, Baker focused on building awareness over time and honoring those who deserve hero titles.
On Dec. 22, MDC launches special-edition Fire & Ice Vodka at the Marble Bar in Aspen. Fire is a piquant chile-pepper infusion: habanero, jalapeno, serrano, and sweet peppers, the last of which lend a mellow finish to a zippy and warming sip. Ice, meanwhile, is MDC’s signature straight vodka, distilled through namesake stone from Marble, Colorado. Both are 80 proof; the 375mL bottles are wrapped in custom artwork labels.
Twenty-five percent of proceeds from sales of Fire & Ice Vodka ($20 each, available at MDC as well as area liquor stores) support the Zach Burn Foundation, a local nonprofit that supports fire departments and fire-safety initiatives as well as children burn victims. Holiday packages will be available at the Marble Bar launch event, too: 10 ‘Cheers to the Chiefs’ gift sets (Fire & Ice duo plus firefighter pants or boots) for $200.
“It’s all about the firefighters,” Baker says. “They’re so humble, these guys and girls. It’s amazing.”
Libations was created by beloved Aspen Times publisher Gunilla Asher, who died June 2, 2014, after a brave battle with cancer. Cheers—to Gunner!
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Many locations on Basalt Mountain were barren as recently as two months ago. However, nutrients unlocked during the Lake Christine Fire and a wet winter have sparked a remarkable recovery. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is leading fire ecology tours to discuss the changes.