There’s nothing the body craves more after a day of fresh pow than a hot toddy (unless it’s a hot toddy in a hot tub), designed to raise your body temp and spirits after a chilly day on the slopes.
DIY Hot Drinks
Want to create your own hot drinks instead of going to the bar (or, ahem, after going to the bar)? Swillin’ tapped local non-professional-but-pours-a-mean-cocktail bartender Andrew Beckler — who actually bartended at Buena Vista’s Deer Hammer Distillery for five years — for his top warm-you-uppers. “I do them pretty often in a thermos when skiing in the backcountry,” he says. “You gotta’ have the thermos.” Here’s his hot drinks of choice to take the chill out of a cold winter’s day:
- Tea, Cream, Honey & Rum (or Whiskey): This is Beckler’s go-to. “The key is to add nice, fat cream so it nourishes you while you’re out there,” he says. “Black tea for caffeine, cream for energy, whiskey or rum to warm you up.”
- Hot Buttered Rum (or tequila, for the uninitiated): The key to this, says Beckler, is “lots of butter, an obscene amount of butter.” To make it, he says, boil water with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, then add sugar and butter (“remember, obscene” he says) and then rum to taste.
- Coffee, Cream & Whiskey: For this warm-your-belly-and-liver concoction, he advises heavy cream. “You want the energy,” he says. As for booze, “Jim Beam is my go-to for a budget, if you need to up it you can.”
Hot Buttered Rum Bar None
Shine on the store-bought. With a little TLC, you can make a hot-buttered rum that’ll heat up friendships and your tummy. The following Beckler-endorsed libation (courtesy Paul Clarke at SeriousEats.com) is middle of the range, with the requisite butter and sugar and a little spice to liven things up. Note: Cream the butter with the sugar and spices to avoid the dreaded oil slick appearance, and when choosing a rum, go for something big and rich (i.e. Demeraras from El Dorado, Jamaicans like Coruba, or something dark and mellow like Zaya or Zacapa). This recipe makes enough batter for several drinks and keeps well in the fridge.
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 ounces brown sugar or Demerara sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp fresh-grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- For each drink:
- 2 tablespoons batter, to taste
- 2 ounces dark rum
- 4 ounces boiling water
- Ground nutmeg, for garnish
Beckler Hint: “Mix up the butter in large batches, then use it as needed for individual drinks. And use a thermos, which is key for hot-buttered backcountry.”
Local Bar Faves
Slopeside: Fat Elvis
Slopeside, being slopeside on the mountain, has an entire menu of hot drinks called “Winter Warmers.” The heat-your-innards list features 13 creative winter concoctions to warm folks up after hitting the slopes. Owner Collin Kelley’s favorite: the “Fat Elvis,” featuring banana-infused Kentucky Bourbon, peanut butter bourbon, and extra creamy hot chocolate.
Primrose: Classic Hot Toddy
At Primrose, go with the classic Hot Toddy made with its special “Primrose Single Barrel Select” Rye — a six-year rye, bottled at cask strength (115.7 proof) and finished with local bourbon barrel-aged honey and fresh orange. Or, in what owner Collin Kelley calls “a major toss-up,” try its Primrose Cider, including Leopold Brother’s Colorado Apple Whiskey, Big B’s Spiced Colorado Cider, Chai Liqueur and fresh whipped cream. “You really can’t go wrong either way,” he says.
E3 Chophouse: Heavenly Daze Hot Toddy
Made with Cinnamon Whiskey, lemon juice, honey, hot water, and served with a cinnamon stick and lemon wedge, the Heavenly Daze Hot Toddy at E3 is pretty uh its only featured hot drink, says bar manager Brittany Uris. For good reason. “People love it,” she says. “We blow through a lot. You gotta’ have the right hot toddy.” Bonus: a completely new “colorful” drink menu this winter.
Creekside: Ryes & Swine Hot Toddy
Tod “JJ” Johnson, the award-winning lead barkeep at both The Laundry and Creekside, knows his hot drinks like he does his way around a shaker. One of his faves to fire up the furnace is their Ryes & Swine Hot Toddy, made of Redemption Rye, honey, candied local bacon. “This is my favorite,” he says. “Not just for the clever name, but it’s a unique variation of a hot toddy incorporating the candied local bacon.” Two other faves:
The Winter Russian, with French vanilla Kahlua, espresso, steamed milk and the Creekside Chai (Irish Cream, chai, steamed milk) — “They’ve been on our list for years and can be attributed to former longtime Creekside bartender Tim Meadows,” he says — and the Apple A Day, with apple-cinnamon-infused bourbon, hot apple cider, whipped cream.
Truffle Pig: Victorian Hot Toddy
Truffle Pig GM Mark Stanford maintains “this is certainly no run of the mill Hot Toddy.” And how could it be with a name like The Victorian? The “Victorian Toddy” features Truffle’s own Barrel Selection of Buffalo Trace Bourbon (hand selected and bottled exclusively), Giffard “Ginger of the Indies” Liqueur, Apalogue Saffron Liqueur, fresh lemon, clove, and hot water. “It’s perfectly balanced, featuring layers of unique flavor which enhance all our favorite elements of the hot toddy,” he says. “The experience it delivers is worth every penny.”
Hot Damn: A Few Other Swillin’ Faves
(Note: nuke if no room)
Combing the chairs and backcountry, Swillin’ found a few more warm-you-up faves:
- Coffee spiked with cognac, Irish cream, Grand Marnier or Godiva chocolate liqueur
∙ Glogg – mulled wine
∙ Peppermint Patty – a shot of peppermint schnapps and creme de cacao to a cup of hot coco.
Red wine or hard cider heated with sugar or honey and spices like cinnamon sticks