The Best Cocktails from 6 Iconic Ski Bars
We asked local bartenders for their most famous recipes
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Few things are better than a stiff drink after a long day on the slopes. And while it’s nice to belly up to the bar and have an expert mix you the perfect potion, sometimes when you’re showered and don’t have the willpower to put on pants, it’s really nice to be able to make your own.
Luckily, bartenders understand the struggle. Mixologists from North America’s most iconic ski bars happily handed over their favorite recipes for post-powder libations. Some are hot, some are fanciful, and some take only a few minutes to whip up, no pants required.
Blackberry Chocolate Old Fashioned
Manzanita at the Ritz-Carlton
Lake Tahoe, California
“I enjoy this cocktail because of its aroma and the warming flavors after a cold day spent on the mountain,” says Brad Bicknell, the bartender at Manzanita, the Ritz-Carlton’s fine-dining restaurant. We couldn’t agree more. With notes of chocolate, blackberries, and rye whiskey, it pairs perfectly with a roaring fire and gray winter skies.
- 2 ounces Whistle Pig rye whiskey
- 3 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters
- 3 blackberries (two muddled, one for garnish)
- 1 brown sugar cube
- Slice of blood orange
Muddle two blackberries and brown sugar cube in the bottom of a glass. Add the whiskey and bitters; stir with cocktail spoon. Garnish with the blood orange and the remaining blackberry.
Lake Placid, New York
Zachary Blair, head mixologist for Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge, heads into the woods on winter mornings to collect small handfuls of maple leaves and brings them back to his kitchen to use in the evening’s cocktails. “Boiling the leaf rejuvenates the shape, cleans it, and leaves an aroma of earthy woods,” he says, adding that he hopes the cocktail will do the same for tired humans.
- 2 ounces Hudson Baby Bourbon
- 3/4 ounce Suze (Swiss bitters)
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce pureed beets (Roast until soft, then whir briefly in a blender.)
- 1 egg white
- 1 rehydrated maple leaf
- Dash of cinnamon
Add all ingredients, except the leaf and cinnamon, into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the leaf and a dash of cinnamon.
Mammoth Mountain, California
With California’s great snow and sunny days, it’s easy to come off the mountain craving something refreshing instead of something warm. It’s no wonder, then, that radlers, normally a summer favorite, are a big seller at the Yodler, a classic spot right next to Mammoth.
- 1 ounce Jameson
- 3 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 8 ounces Stiegl lager
Combine all ingredients in a highball glass. Stir gently. Sip.
Todd from Colombia
The Spur Restaurant and Bar at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The Spur’s Colombian take on the hot toddy gets an extra hit of star anise from the addition of Ricard pastis, an anise aperitif. The stuff is strong, though, so start with a small dash and add more if you need it.
- 1 1/2 ounces Grand Teton vodka
- 2 ounces simple syrup infused with star anise
- Juice of half a lime
- Light splash of Ricard pastis
Mix all ingredients in an eight-ounce mug. Fill the mug the rest of the way with hot water, then stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and cinnamon stick. Better yet, you can easily multiply the recipe by four, mix it in a 32-ounce thermos, and take it with you for an on-the-slopes pit stop.
Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire
Lone Eagle Grill at the Hyatt Regency
Lake Tahoe, California
Mezcal brings the smoke, green chile vodka and green tobacco add the heat, and pineapple and passion fruit work in tandem to keep things from getting too serious in this fiery concoction created by Lone Eagle Grill bartender Juan Camarena.
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
- 1 ounce real passionfruit syrup
- 1 ounce Xicaru Silver Mezcal
- 1 ounce St. George Green Chile Vodka
- Green chile Tabasco, to taste
- Dried pineapple slice for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake vigorously, and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add as much Tabasco as you can handle, then garnish with a sliver of dried pineapple.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Tea-based cocktails will always have a place in my heart. This one uses earthy sage tea, which tastes as good as the Mountain West smells. You can easily scale up this cocktail to fill a thermos.
- 1 1/2 ounces Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon
- 1/2 ounce Aperol
- 1/2 ounce Boulard apple brandy
- 1 ounce premade sage honey tea (dried sage tea, honey, and lemon zest)
Make the sage honey tea by steeping sage tea in three ounces of hot water. Add one teaspoon honey and a touch of lemon zest. Pour one ounce of the tea into a glass. Add the bourbon, Aperol, and brandy. Stir well. Garnish with a dried sage leaf.