Libations: Mixing up the winning drinks from Aspen Cocktail Classic |

Libations: Mixing up the winning drinks from Aspen Cocktail Classic

Bad Harriet manager Jessie Kneitel, left, and Cait Whitten create their drinks for the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic pub crawl on Sunday afternoon.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

There were 13 stops on this year’s Aprés Ski Cocktail Classic Pub Crawl, which happily was held March 17 … aka St. Patrick’s Day. So, 13 bartenders and bar managers partnered with 13 different liquors (or in HOPS’ case, Red Bull) to create 13 unique cocktails for the occasion.

Pub Crawl participants and a selected jury of “experts” enjoyed the warm, sunny St. Patty’s Day weather while visiting all the aprés locations, or as many as they could make it to in the four hours, to taste the handcrafted cocktails and vote on their favorites.

Winning this year’s Jury Award for Best Cocktail was Bad Harriet — which has been featured in an ATW libations — located in the basement of the historic Aspen Times building beside the Hotel Jerome.

Bad Harriet manager Jessie Kneitel and bartender Justin McDuffie were partnered with Monkey Shoulder, a blended malt Scotch whisky, to create their award-winning cocktail called Spring Fever.

Spring Fever cocktail at Bad Harriet. (Photo courtesy of Jessie Kneitel)

spring fever

“We were paired with Monkey Shoulder scotch and were really excited because that’s one of our favorite spirits as a bar team to mix into cocktails. There are a lot of people out there that feel they don’t enjoy scotch in cocktails, and one of the most satisfying things we can do as bartenders is bring a lesser known or less widely preferred spirit to new light for guests,” Kneitel said.

“After weeks of all the incredible and nonstop snow we were inspired by recent sunshine and blue skies to create ‘Spring Fever’ — made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, chamomile grappa, spiced pear brandy, apple bitters and lemon. It’s served up, topped with a light honey-chamomile foam and sprinkled with bee pollen and chamomile flowers. The right cocktail can bring you places and change your outlook for the day; this one brings us to sunny patios looking out on the green grass of the mountain and we hope it does that for our guests, as well!”

The winner of the coveted People’s Choice Award for Best Cocktail was another newcomer to the Aspen bar scene, 7908.

7908 bartender Mitch Kortus pours drinks for Apres Ski Cocktail Classic bar crawl on Sunday afternoon.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

Matt Corbin, 7908’s director of spirits, created Laughter in Paradise, which featured Hennessy as the bar’s partner liquor.

“I am so excited to participate in the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic for the third year now,” Corbin said. “In regards to 7908 (which opened in summer 2018), I am so excited to showcase our cocktail program. It is something our team has been working on for the past year in anticipation for the Cocktail Classic.”

If you weren’t able to make it to the Cocktail Classic this year, no worry. We were able to procure the winning recipes for these two cocktails to share them with you so you can enjoy them at your next aprés celebration.

Libations was created by beloved Aspen Times publisher Gunilla Asher, who died June 2, 2014 , after a brave battle with cancer. Cheers – to Gunner!

Winning Combinations


  • 1 oz Monkey Shoulder Scotch whiskey
  • 1 oz chamomile grappa
  • .5 oz St. George Spiced Pear Brandy
  • .25 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes apple bitters
  • Topped with apple bitter – chamomile foam
  • Garnish: chamomile flowers and bee pollen


  • 1.5 oz Hennessy VSOP
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • 1.25 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • .75 housemate macadamia nut orgeat
  • 1 spray of Elemakule tiki bitters
  • Garnish: paper umbrella