Perfect Things: The Proper Cocktail Venue

When the perfect drink coincides with the perfect location, you get better than buzzed.

bloody mary cocktail

Bloody mary cocktail drink     Photo: shutterbugger/Getty Images

In my basic cosmology, there's no better way to end a day on the slopes or a night around a campfire than with a rye Manhattan or a whiskey sour. A well-made cocktail in the right location can elevate the experience like nothing else.

So it is with the bloody mary at the New Sheridan Hotel in downtown Telluride. It's your basic bloody, crammed with a salad bar's worth of fixings and a celery-salt rim.

I first savored it some years ago on the opening day of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Sitting on the Sheridan's sidewalk patio, where you can look down Colorado Avenue all the way to the box canyon beyond, my buddies and I watched a stream of women in short skirts float past on their way to the stage. I drank three and then showed up two hours into the night's performances.

On another occasion, during Mountainfilm in Telluride, I was halfway through a bloody when I struck up a conversation with the filmmaker Ken Burns, excusing myself when my drink ran dry.

Last summer, I was in town for the Imogene Pass Run, a 17-mile haul from Ouray to Telluride with more than a mile of elevation gain. At the finish, while other competitors slurped chicken noodle soup or held cups of water with two hands, I saddled up at the Sheridan. I could see the stragglers come across the line from my perch on the patio. Later, as I was getting ready to leave, still dressed in running shoes and race bib, a passerby called out, "Congrats. How was it?"

"Thanks," I said. "It was damn good."

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