A snowy paradise for some of the world’s wealthiest skiers, Aspen is also home to an emerging craft cocktail scene, giving travellers all the more reason to add a trip to Colorado to their bucket list, writes Tess Rose Lampert.
Aspen has long been a popular destination among those looking for a luxurious getaway. The combination of nature, relaxation and, of course, great food and beverages attracts all types of holidaymaker, from affluent families to high-profile celebrities.
When it comes to its drinks scene, Aspen has always managed to rank on-par with beverage trends at large, and the international focus on craft spirits and experimental cocktails has reached the resort’s 6,000-strong year-round population. As a result, there is a growing excitement about its unique and quality-driven cocktail programmes and extensive spirits lists.
In 1998, the team behind local watering hole Jimmy’s introduced spirits and mixology to Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic culinary event, which up until then had been strictly limited to wine. They offered a “premium cocktail exhibition”, showcasing how the quality of spirits is central to the quality of a cocktail, and subsequently ushered in a new perspective on liquor and mixed drinks.
Aspen also hosts epic parties, where it is not uncommon for more Champagne to end up on the floor than in one’s glass, with other boozy concoctions consumed in a similar style of indulgence.
The embracing of cocktails among the decadent food and wine community has opened new doors for young mixologists and spirits nerds, who now approach their menus with the same focus and acumen as a sommelier.
When looking for unique offerings and top- shelf tipples, visitors have a variety of occasions to choose from. There are chic clubs with stunning views serving expertly crafted cocktails that feature local ingredients, as well as more casual pub-like settings where you can choose from spirits lists with rare offerings. The craft beer scene is also on the rise in Aspen, fleshing out bars’ once narrow beverage focus.
To all intents and purposes, Aspen is just as much a beverage and foodie paradise as it is a skiing destination. Bartenders here are no longer just keeping in-step with other major cities, but are pushing the culture forward and acting as trendsetters in their own right.
Click through the following pages to discover our pick of the top five bars in Aspen, Colorado.