Here’s a guest post from one of our Skis.com team members Steve Nowak, who weighs in here on slope side drinks.
The next time you’re on the slopes, I’m guessing it will be highly unlikely that you’ll cross paths with a friendly St. Bernard that has a cask of brandy around his neck, especially since the concept of the dog with barrel collar was made up in the 1820’s and never a real practice. So then what options do you have for slope side drinking? I’m glad you asked, because I’ve come up with a practical and delicious list of libations that will help you kick your day up a notch, whether you’re waking up for the first lift, skinning in the backcountry, resting mid-run, relaxing by the hearth or getting ready to party late into the night!
- Breakfast – It’s Friday night you’ve just rolled into town. The lifts are already closed but you’re super stoked and can’t sleep, so you hit the bar and indulge in one too many cocktails, and then comes the morning after. Most people that follow the hair of the dog rule go straight for the Bloody Mary (a classic for sure), but why not try something out of the ordinary? Some cereal maybe, cinnamon toast crunch to be exact. The cinnamon toast crunch is a mix of Chila ‘Orchata (a cinnamon rum cream, Rum Chata works just as well) and Fireball Whiskey poured over ice or in a shot. Go ahead, taste it blindfolded against a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch you won’t be able to tell the difference!
- Already a classic – The mini bottle of Fireball Whiskey, already sold at many slope side stores, are little compact airplane shot bottles that are the perfect size to fit in any pocket to pull out for a quick nip of cinnamon tasty warm goodness. They take up almost no space and can be pulled out and easily shared on a long lift ride or in the backcountry. Fun fact: these mini shots are so popular as a ski drink that some mountain towns sell them in ten packs. As a personal recommendation you could also spend a few extra bucks and try out the new Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, very similar to Fireball but much smoother. If you can find it (it’s not available in many states yet) give it a shot!
- The Good Doctor – The good (and fictitious) Dr. Aloysius Percival McGillicuddy, born in the year of our Lord, 1808, presented us with the recipe for my favorite lift drink Dr. McGillicuddy’s Mentholmint Schnapps. This has always been and always will be a staple in my flask. Mentholmint is an understatement; it’s an arctic blizzard of freshness to your dome. With the Dr. you’ll forget about how cold it is after the roundhouse kick to the face of minty goodness. However there are two rules with the Dr.: 1. Always offer to share and 2. Read/share aloud the story on the back, alone that’s worth the purchase of a bottle and you’ll be sure to make a few new friends.
- Penny Pinching – If you have a truck and tailgate in the parking lot or a good sized backpack, you can always go the broke college student route and grab a dirty 30 of your favorite cheap beer. Depending on what part of the country you are riding in you’ll have plenty of options to go with from the classic Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hamm’s, and all the way to the beast (if you don’t know what the beast is you’re better off keeping it that way). With this route you won’t care when you open up your can (never bottles) of ice cold beer and half of it explodes out of the can from being shaken up and almost frozen. Enjoy, cheers your buddy, smash the can, place back in your pack and get back to rippin’. Save the expensive microbrews for later.
- The Aspiring Sommelier – Sometimes you just might not want liquor, and cans of beer just take up much too much space, so what to do? Pull a modern day classic, go grab yourself your favorite vintage box of wine and get rid of that box! This works especially well if your backpack has a bladder pocket since the durable Bag ‘O Wine that you now have is most likely pretty similar in size. What makes it even better is that the sealed spout comes right attached to that bag so you can have yourself a sip while resting next to a tree. Salute!
- The Mile High Standard – If you’ve ever flown into Denver international Airport and driven up to the mountains via I-70, you’ve no doubt seen billboards for this Colorado staple, Tuaca. If you’ve never had this before you are missing out. Tuaca is a liqueur made of brandy, orange and vanilla and is to Colorado skiing as Bourbon and horse racing are to Kentucky. I highly recommend giving it a shot at your next slope side bar, you’ll end up putting it in your flask next time you’re out no matter where you’re riding.
- For the Pyro – Spanish coffee is a delicious cocktail, but best taken at the bar after a good day on the slopes. This cocktail includes 151 Rum, coffee, liqueurs, spices, sugar and whipped cream. So unless you’re carrying around a mini bar on your back, leave this one to the pros. Not to forget that that one of the steps to making this drink is to light it on fire! The Spanish Coffee is better than sitting next to the fire wrapped up in warm blanket and actually is best enjoyed while sitting in the outdoor hot tub.
- Not For the Faint of Heart – The Prairie Fire shot usually takes a lot of persuasion to drink, but it will melt the cold right off of you in an instant! To make the Prairie Fire Shot pour one shot of your favorite tequila (preferably on the cheaper side, you’ll see why momentarily) and add, to taste, as much of your favorite hot sauce (I prefer Tabasco, thicker sauces like Frank’s tend to sink to the bottom) directly into the tequila and shoot! After the shot, have a dill pickle spear handy and take a bite, this really rounds out and mellows out this shot. If you didn’t have hair on your chest already, you will after this drink.
- The Bro – Exhausted after a day of skiing but still want to have the energy to catch that band at the bar? Just take a note from your inner Jersey bro and go for the Jager Bomb. For those of you who don’t know what this is, you drop a shot of Jagermeister into a pint glass of Red Bull and drink it all down in one gulp. After a few of these you’ll forget about your sore legs and will be fist pumping the night away. For those a bit more adventurous you can always up the ante to a Bear Fight (the drink name, not actually fighting a bear) by adding a Car Bomb (a pint of Guinness that you drop a shot of 50/50 of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whiskey. Drink it fast because the Bailey’s will curdle, and proceed with caution.
- The Night Cap – If you’re winding down your evening or you might just have a slight sore throat and runny nose, I highly recommend the Hot Toddy. Besides being delicious, this drink is known to many as “the cure for the common cold.” To create this classic make yourself a hot cup of tea (something standard like Earl Gray) and in a shot of your favorite Bourbon (I prefer Wild Turkey 101), a teaspoon or more of honey and a lemon wedge. After this drink you’ll be feeling a 110% and ready to take on the slopes for the next day.
At times we could all use a little pick me up when heading out to take on the mountains but remember to keep it safe and follow the rules. Our hardworking ski patrollers already have enough accidents to take care of out there without dealing with a bunch of lushes. It should go without saying, just like don’t French fry when you should be pizza-ing, don’t drink if you’re underage!