Libations: Aspen’s Winter Cocktail Crawl
I’ve finally decided to admit that winter and the holidays are in full swing. It can only be put off so long.
In between wondering if I can risk skimping on expedited shipping for family presents and making sure the Weezer Christmas album wasn’t a figment of my imagination, I’ve been trying to update my cocktail go-to’s for the weather. I have a dire need to find a tequila drink I enjoy in order to maintain any of my friendships, and a tequila sunrise leads to some strange looks in this weather.
My original plan was to find a bar in town, preferably something I hadn’t visited in some time, and check for any updated menus. First stop was The Living Room inside Hotel Jerome, J-Bar’s perhaps lesser known but equally charming brother. Recommendations all pointed here, but unfortunately, I was too early and told to return in around two weeks time for an updated menu and wine list.
Onto the secondary plan of the Limelight Lounge. Again, I was informed I was too early and that a menu would be arriving around Dec. 16. However, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a few winter cocktail works-in-progress from their creator herself, hand-written and discreetly (openly) slid across the bar. I don’t want to spill proprietary recipes, but even reading the full ingredients for a spiced cider mule made me plan to return for one.
My assignment now turning into a pub crawl, I headed to Jimmy’s to give it another try. While the bar didn’t have a specific winter drink menu, the bartenders made excellent recommendations and I was pointed toward their Harvest Manhattan, made with rye and maple syrup to help you picture being snowed in at a log cabin.
As a final option, and as a way to actually eat dinner, I made my way to Aspen Public House to take a look at their revamped menu. The drink lineup was still in flux, but the bartender suggested their Atomic Man cocktail. A drink living between two climates, it combined cinnamon and rye with apple, pineapple and lime juice if you’re not quite ready to give up those feelings of warmer weather.
My impromptu trek across town showed bars in various stages of preparation for the full winter season. I’m now waiting to return and try a few new drinks, and had a chance to enjoy some wonderful combinations to help get me through the colder weather, all of which can hit the spot after a day on the slopes.
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What makes a great winery? Well, that depends on your goal.