Libations: A touch of the devil at Tatanka
On a recent Friday afternoon roaming around town, my friend and I swung through Tatanka for an afternoon libation before the official start of another nice November weekend.
I had breakfast at the newish western bistro a couple of times this summer, including the Sunday of Ruggerfest, but had not yet bellied up to the bar. Tatanka (yes, think of Kevin Costner in “Dances With Wolves” if you’re trying to pronounce it), is in the middle of Aspen’s Restaurant Row on Hopkins and has three cool seating areas.
After a look through the cocktail offerings, I went with the Diablo Verde (yep, tequila) while my cohort ordered the rye whiskey-based Dead Man’s Boots (yep, also with tequila).
As you might recall from my past Libations offerings, I’m about the beer then gin and dabble in tequila. My drinking buddy went the whiskey route, so I zagged and went the drink that offered a devilish take.
Sometimes drink names get me on a simple level. It’s like betting at the horse track: Sometimes you just buy a $2 win ticket on a pony because its name means something to you or makes you laugh (also, $2 win ticket on the first gray horse of the day is a side bet I learned from my mother).
But back to the drinks. What I liked about the description of the Diablo Verde was the cucumber and lime but also the new-to-me Ancho Reyes, a Mexican liqueur made with ancho chiles that are sweet and smoky. That flavor was nice with the cooler cucumber juice and lime splash. All that and two fresh jalapeno slices on top makes it an easy sipping drink.
The Dead Man’s Boots used reposado tequila (aged up to a year) and Rittenhouse rye along with ginger beer, which is popping up everywhere these days, and more fresh lime.
After a quick reset earlier this week with the menu and staff, the restaurant and bar will be back at it. Tatanka is owned by a group of locals and is coming into its first winter season on a pretty solid start. Good reviews online, and the local vibe is building.
Both drinks, our friend behind the bar said, will be on the winter menu. I’m looking forward to grazing there this winter.
“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.