From fruit whiskey using Colorado apples, peaches, and blackberries to lavender-infused gin, absinthe, brandy, and hard-core moonshine straight from the still, spirits produced at local craft distillers offer the makings of delicious wintertime cocktails. At Ajax Tavern (685 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-6334) try the Ajax Apple, made with vanilla infused 10 Cane rum and local Big B’s hot cider. Served in a tall glass mug, it is just sweet enough yet warm and invigorating.
The mixologists at Eight K at the Viceroy in Snowmass Village (130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village, 970-923-8000) draw inspiration from the regional spirit producers to devise a menu of winter warmers. My selection is the Hand Warmer. It mixes Denver distillery Leopold Bros’ Small Batch whiskey, unfiltered warm cider mash, a cinnamon stick, and orange juice.
Made with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, the hot spiced wine at the St. Regis Aspen (315 E. Dean St., 970-920-3300) is an ideal winter aperitif, featuring favorite seasonal flavors.
Ryan Snow, the mixologist at Woody Creek Distillers (60 Sunset Dr., Basalt, 970-279-5110), crafts several drinks with house-made apple brandy from local Paonia apples, including the Old, Old Fashioned. The classic cocktail was originally made with apple brandy, Snow says, and he creates the “Old, Old” with Woody Creek apple brandy, sugar, water, and Angostura and house orange bitters.
So grab your cider, a bottle of apple brandy, and get creative. Old Man Winter is knocking on your door, and he wants a drink.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ST. REGIS