Gaining Elevation: Say, What’s in this Drink?

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Welcome to Gaining Elevation, a column dedicated to kicking your kitchen game up a notch. We’ll explore classic and often-used recipes, and get professional insight into how to get great results every time. From desserts and cocktails to mains and sides, nothing’s out of bounds!

All too often, as we plan and arrange jubilant holiday gatherings, our focus as foodies gets entirely wrapped up in the menu. We select mouthwatering recipes, scour the grocery store and butcher shop for the best ingredients, and present our dishes with stylish holiday flourish. Then, almost as an afterthought, we pop open some wine or offer our guests a chilled beer. While these classic bevvies are almost guaranteed to keep your guests content, you’re missing an opportunity.

This year, take advantage of the season and pour your guests something they’ll remember.

The Spur Bar and Restaurant in Teton Village has taken this cocktail challenge seriously, and offers a fresh spin on a traditional wintertime cocktail – the hot toddy. With a long and colorful history, this drink actually has roots from across the globe. Inspiration from colonial India collided with Scottish climate and whisky, and was reinvented yet again as it crossed the Atlantic before arriving on American shores. Its rambling travels have made the drink something of a blank canvas; the blend of spirits, hot water, sweetness and spice are a veritable playground for creation.

Enter Todd, From Columbia. The Spur’s creative take on the hot toddy, this steaming beverage is the perfect balance of robust spice and bright citrus, with just enough sweetness. Relying on the exotic pairing of lime and anise, this spin on the classic is fresh and creative, but also tame enough to be a real crowd pleaser. When your guests step in from the cold, they’ll be delighted to warm up with a hot mug. And they’ll probably need a refill.

Todd From Colombia

As we get ready to greet the dawn of a fresh year, Champagne is considered classic. It’s hard to imagine a New Years’ celebration without a few corks popping and bubbles flowing. And sure, there’s an elegance to the simplicity of champagne. But on the other hand, there’s a Bellini.

An Italian favorite, the bellini is champagne in a party dress. And the bartenders at the Rendezvous Bistro know how to do it right. The perfect balance of peach nectar and sparkling wine, finished with a splash of raspberry liqueur, is sweet and festive. It’s simple to make, and tastes brighter than many cocktails that rely on hard liquor.

Bistro Bellini

  • ½ oz peach nectar
  • Brut champagne
  • Dash of Chambord (as a floater)

Bistro Bellini

So, as you’re gearing up to celebrate the season, whether it’s Christmas or ringing in the New Year, pour your guests – or yourself – something fresh. You might just discover a new favorite.

Todd, From Colombia

Ingredients

  • • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • • 2 ounces anise simple syrup
  • • Juice of ½ lime
  • • Dash of Ricard Pastis
  • • Hot water (to desired strength)
  • • Lime Wedge, Cinnamon Stick

Instructions

  • Make ahead the star anise simple syrup (3 whole star anise pods per 6 oz of simple syrup)
  • Bring simple syrup to a boil, remove from heat. Add star anise. Let cool.
  • Mix vodka, anise syrup, lime juice, Ricard Pastis and hot water in glass.
  • Garnish with lime wedge and cinnamon stick.
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About Author

In full rebellion against the unpredictable climate of the Rocky Mountains, you can find Melissa on her deck grilling any month of the year. Typically in flip flops. Snow, rain, wind… no weather is too fierce. She’s a lover of peaches in any form, has a borderline addiction to arugula, and (strangely) has been known to drizzle soy sauce on pizza. But even more than she loves her stand mixer and cast iron collection, she adores cooking for her husband and young daughter. When this Jackson Hole native isn’t scurrying around her messy kitchen, she’s probably outside floating the river, hiking, camping, fishing, or, well… grilling.

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