Need a little inspiration for your post-slopes cocktail hour? Us, too. With summer’s fresh-squeezed margs and aperol spritzes in the rear view mirror, Tahoe Magazine has tapped a few of Big Blue’s talented mixologists to bring you a trio of creative cocktails to enjoy while cozied up by the fire.
Petite Street’s “Five Spice Bourbon Punch”
Petite Street’s fleet of mobile bars are frequent fliers at Tahoe weddings — and for good reasons. Not only are they adorable, but husband-and-wife duo, Angela Ceccarelli and Jeff Edwards, crank out seriously good cocktails. Since converting their first trailer, a 1959 canned ham, into a catering bar on wheels, they’ve gone on to transform a vintage horse trailer into a four-tap beer cart and a three-wheeled 1963 Cushman Truckster into a wine and beer dispenser.
“In this day and age, you go to a wedding and people expect to have great, specialty cocktails,” says Ceccarelli. “We love to use seasonal, fresh ingredients and get creative.”
In the winter, the couple swaps warm-weather berries and stone fruit for richer, spice-forward ingredients, like in the Five Spice Bourbon Punch, which combines a five spicy simple syrup (equal parts water to sugar simmer with toasted peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds and cloves) with bourbon and a splash of lime for acidity.
2 oz bourbon
1 oz five spice syrup (made with toasted peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel and cloves)
.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir. Fill cocktail glass with ice. Strain cocktail mixture and pour into cocktail glass. Top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice and star anise.
FUMO’s “Winter’s Peach”
FUMO in Incline Village serves up unique new American dishes — Ahi poke flatbread, lobster deviled eggs and red wine ancho chili short ribs, to name a few — with cocktails that are equally eccentric.
“FUMO is very experimental. We really want there to be a balance between the cocktails and the food, so we use a lot of the same ingredients,” explains Jason Gee, leader bartender. “The cool thing about FUMO is that instead of going with the trends, we really base our menu off of memories and nostalgia.”
FUMO’s winter cocktail of choice, Winter’s Peach, combines homemade peach syrup — seasoned with cinnamon and star anise — with spiced rum, tart lemon, creamy egg white and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1 oz peach syrup
1 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz egg white
Dehydrated peach slice
For the peach syrup, boil 4 cups of sugar with 4 cups of water. Once at a boil, add 4 sliced peaches, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 star anise. Take off heat and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Next, add egg white to a shaker and dry shake (without ice) for 15 seconds. Add rum, lemon and peach syrup to the shaker and dry shake for an additional 15 seconds. Add ice and shake until the outside of the shaker is cold. Double strain into a couple glass or any stemmed cocktail glass. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters on top, draw a pattern with a toothpick, and garnish with a dehydrated peach slice on the rim.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s “Manhattan Drift”
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is well-known for its ever-evolving menu of craft cocktails. And with mixology classes and spirit tastings available for guests, it can be an immersive experience to imbibe at the Truckee-based luxury resort.
“I think that people’s drinking preferences and habits change with the weather. Lighter more refreshing spirits like gin, cachaça, and tequila in the warmer months, and richer slow sippers like cognac, aged rum, and whiskey in the cooler months,” says Michael Donaldson, food and beverage manager.
During the winter, Donaldson likes to incorporate flavors like cranberry, spiced pear, hazelnuts, allspice, tobacco smoke, apples and beets into the cocktails.
For his riff on the classic Manhattan, Donaldson uses Japanese whiskey as the backbone, a peach liquor, a fortified aperitif wine, vermouth and chocolate bitters.
“The garnish is as much a part of the experience as the drink itself,” adds Donaldson. “We made a togarashi dusted chocolate tuile that you can take bites of as you sip on the drink. The flavor combination is warming and luxurious.”
2 oz Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whiskey
.75 oz Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino
.5 oz Bonal
.25 oz Rothman and Winter Peach Liqueur
2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters
Stir ingredients together and strain into a coupe glass.