We Know What Pairs With Snow
Five Fireside Cocktails that Will Make Coming in from the Cold That Much Better
By Maddie Garfolo
Photography by Cooper Morton
If there is a season for cocktails, summer seems like the obvious choice—but that’s only because few people get winter cocktails right.
For classics like the Hot Toddy and Irish Coffee, a cold winter climate is at the core of what makes these libations great. So, it’s no surprise that bartenders at the Sun Valley Resort have become the quasi-Olympians of winter cocktail craft. Some offerings you’ll find around the village nod reverently to tradition, while others are changing the game with house-made syrups and locally-distilled spirits. Either way, they will all stand up to that umbrellaed thing in a pineapple you order every summer.
If you feel like celebrating holiday cheer all winter long, stop by the Konditorei for an Alpine Coffee. It’s a not-too-sweet riff on a classic Irish Coffee, complete with freshly-brewed dark roast, whiskey, chocolate bitters, and a frosty raw sugar rim. For the perfect pairing, try the decadent S’mores Mousse Cake—it’s the ideal sweet counterpart to the bitterness of the coffee and depth of the whiskey. Insider tip: order it hot rather than iced and warm yourself by the fire while sugarplums dance through your head.
In the winter, a relaxing dip in the heated pool at the Sun Valley Lodge and a trip to the Poolside Café is a must. Sweeping views of Bald Mountain and a full bar and menu will afford you the kind of relaxing contemplation needed to channel your inner Scandinavian snow deity. As you sip on a cold rose-colored Pom Sparkler, flavored with pomegranate liqueur and effervescent Stellina de Notte prosecco, you will realize you now understand the meaning of the word “hygge.”
Winter Wonderland Mule
As the newest destination in the Sun Valley Village, it’s no surprise that the Village Station is serving up some of the most innovative cocktail creations. General manager, Tim Sullivan, is putting the emphasis on local ingredients and house-made additions to his beverages for a truly unique experience you won’t find elsewhere.
The Winter Wonderland Mule captures the spirit and flavors of the holidays with fresh muddled cranberries, house-made toasted cinnamon and ginger syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice, and locally distilled Party Animal Vodka. With a dash of soda water, this drink is rendered a sparkling show-stopper. Grab a booth by the window (and maybe a freshly-made Wild Mushroom Pizza) to make the wintery vibes complete, watching the snow come down on shoppers in the village.
After guests at the Sun Valley Lodge have returned from a bracing day of skiing, the Duchin Lounge is waiting with open arms and plush couches, either to comfort aching limbs or thaw frozen extremities. Or, for non-skiers, it’s just waiting for a visit for no particular reason, aside from the fact that they make the most perfect Hot Toddy in town. The Hot Toddy, as defined in bartender’s handbooks, is simply hot water and whiskey—a recipe, I am pleased to report, the Duchin does not adhere to. This version achieves the perfect balance of fresh lemon juice and cinnamon that infuses throughout the whole drink. You may think you know a Hot Toddy, but I’ll wager it pales in comparison to this gem.
Rule #1: A visit to the Sun Valley Village would not be complete without a trip to The Ram Bar—one of its oldest and most storied locales, now renovated and restored to its former glory. Rule #2: you must order fondue.
As you wait for your individual ceramic crock to arrive, complete with the classic accompaniments of cubed bread and salty-sour petit cornichons, you might as well order a cocktail. Look no further than the Vieux Carré (French for “old square”). An updated take on a classic Manhattan, this powerful elixir is best sipped slowly to enjoy the nuance of the whiskey, licorice-laced Benedictine, and spicy Peychaud’s bitters. Cutting through the richness of the molten cheese, it warms you from within, creating the perfect end to a winter’s night.
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