Libations: Sipping on Winter Warmers at Almresi

Rose Anna Laudicina
Aspen Times Weekly

Does anything sound better than a hot drink after a day of fresh turns on the mountain in frigid temps?

Well, for me there isn’t much more I crave after I’ve burned out my legs skiing new snow on the mountain in well-below freezing weather (which has been most of February) than a hot drink with alcohol to warm my bones and perhaps some carbs to snack on. Which is why I was more than excited to discover Almresi — the newly opened “Alps meets the Rockies” restaurant located on the ground floor of the Dancing Bear expansion — has a section on its drink menu dedicated to “Winter Warmers.”

Six of the drinks from the “Winter Warmers” section are spiced up with alcohol and are all relatively affordable as far as Aspen cocktails go, ranging in price from $9 to $12.

The drink that caught my eye first, and was confidently recommended by the awesome Austrian behind the bar, Michael, was the Feuerzangenbowle, an Almresi specialty.

Served in a cup created especially for the cocktail, this traditional German drink has a bit of show to it: It comes with a sugarloaf (essentially a cone-shaped sugar cube) that is soaked in Stroh, a high-alcohol rum from Austria, and then set on fire.

When translated, Feuerzangenbowle literally means fire tong (or burnt) punch, so the flames are actually essential to the cocktail. Once the cube is done burning, you can dunk it into the mulled wine, which is the base of this spiced, not-too-sweet winter warmer.

My drinking buddy for the evening ordered the Jagertee from the hot cocktail menu, which is a black tea with rum. Our bartender, Michael, who is originally from Salzburg, Austria, and moved to Aspen to work at Almresi, told us that Jagertee is a very popular après-ski drink in Austria.

The Jagertee had hints of black tea flavor, but it was masked by an almost fruity flavor that lingered after a sip. This drink gets occasional top-offs with hot water to keep it warm, because Michael said “nobody likes a cold Jagertee.”

To pair with these Austrian specialties, we ordered a traditional German pretzel ($9), which is served hanging from an antler with a side of horseradish mustard and pork lard to spread on it and is plenty for two people to split.

There are still four libations on that winter warmers menu that I am excited to try, and with February in Aspen typically being the coldest and snowiest month of the ski season, I know I’ll be returning to Almresi soon.

Aspen Times Weekly

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