Libations: Wintery Marg

by David Krause

Keeping a bit of summer spice to warm up the winter cocktail menu, the crew at Mezzaluna thought a jalapeno-cranberry margarita for the holiday would be a festive twist but nothing big.

They’ve been proven wrong.

“We just put it on there for fun, and we’re going through them like crazy,” said general manager Anna Svenson, who along with Kristen Lowe behind the bar came up with the drink for their winter offerings. “We’re roasting jalapeños like crazy and we’re going through a lot of Milagro.”

So, the drink starts a little something like this: jalapeño roasted with Milagro tequila (which uses 100% blue agave from the Jalisco Highlands); they hang out together for at least a day, if not two. Then the infused tequila heads to the bar.

And speaking of the bar, getting into Mezzaluna most nights might take an effort but it’s worth a downtown stop that is barely two blocks downhill from the gondola. The stately U-shaped marble bar has a mix of regulars who roll through each evening and visitors looking for that “hip but a bit chiller” scene.

Back to the drink: Kristin, Greg, Patrick and the crew start with the tequila and add cranberry juice and housemade sour mix and give it a whirl before pouring it over ice.

Oh, and the rim dusting is almost an appetizer unto itself: crushed dried lemon rinds, red pepper flakes and sea salt. A lime wedge (or peal) and a stick of fresh cranberries top off the hearty drink as garnish.

The flavors hang out for a while, and the peppers from the infused Milagro and flakes from rim salt will warm you up from the insides. It balances well with the sweetness of the cranberry juice.

Kristen and Anna hit on something cool and warm, spicy and sweet for the coming months.

Not to fret, you’ve got time. They plan to keep it on the menu through the ski season. Cheers to that.

Aspen Times Weekly

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