When the temperatures start dropping, there’s nothing more cozy or romantic than enjoying a unique winter cocktail from a Boulder County bar or restaurant.
Whether you’re more of a classic cocktail person (Old Fashioned, anyone?) or you like to spice things up with a new drink every time, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for this winter. Hot or cold? Classic or edgy? Shaken or stirred? It’s all up to you.
We’ve rounded up some of the best winter cocktails in Boulder to help you get through these colder months in one piece (and if alcohol isn’t your thing right now, many of these local establishments are offering non-alcoholic cocktails — so go ahead and ask!). Most, if not all, of these cocktails can also be ordered to-go, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your living room, too.
Moves Like Jäger
2018 10th St., Boulder
Somewhere along the way, Jägermeister earned a reputation for being one of the go-to drinks for apres ski. At Jungle, they’ve decided to put a fun tiki-style spin on this liquor by creating the Moves Like Jäger cocktail. It’s made with cachaça, strawberry, Jägermeister and lime. “We were going for an herbal, edgy take on a strawberry daiquiri,” says Jake Novotny, Jungle’s beverage director.
The Smoking Barrel Manhattan
Steakhouse No. 316
1922 13th St, Boulder
Whiskey is a quintessential cold-weather spirit. But if you’re not a fan of drinking the stuff straight, consider the Smoking Barrel Manhattan at Steakhouse No. 316. It’s a simple but robust Manhattan made with Laws Colorado Rye Whiskey, house-blended sweet vermouth and barrel-aged bitters. It’s stirred with ice and strained into a Laws whiskey bottle. Next, the bartender pipes bourbon barrel smoke into the bottle with a special smoking gun. The capped bottle filled with the smoky cocktail is served table-side with a large ice cube and a house-cured cherry.
“The moment the barrel smoke starts to waft through the dining room, guests look around and wonder where it is coming from,” says Ishael Ananda, general manager. “They can’t help but long for that comforting experience of sipping whiskey by the fireplace.”
Flagstaff House Restaurant
1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder
This isn’t your grandmother’s Christmas cocktail, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The kick of jalapeno and spicy vegetal notes in the Spicy Claus cocktail will help keep you warm on a cold winter’s day, while the fruity notes and creamy egg-white finish will have you asking for another round. It’s made with tequila, Chareau liqueur, bitters, lime juice, egg whites and a house-made tincture of jalapeno, cilantro, matcha, agave and honey.
Pear Ginger Old Fashioned
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar Boulder
928 Pearl St., Boulder
The pear ginger old fashioned at Jax brings together traditional fall and winter flavors in perfect harmony. It’s made with whiskey, a special pear- and ginger-infused honey syrup and orange bitters, then garnished with a maraschino cherry and candied ginger for added flare. “It’s a strong, warming cocktail that is still quaffable and pairs well — pun intended — with many cold-weather dishes,” says Jax’s Eric Linder.
Blood Orange Margarita
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
1101 Walnut St., Boulder
Though you may only think of margaritas during the summertime, winter is actually when the magic really begins. You see, January is when blood orange season starts, which means the Rio can create some truly delicious cocktails. Their blood orange margarita is made with Maestro Dobel Diamante Tequila, which has a softer, subtler presence, which really allows for the delicate blood orange flavors to shine through. And when you order a blood orange margarita from the Rio, you’ll be in good company — it’s developed a bit of a cult following over the years and it’s one of the restaurant chain’s most popular margaritas.
“Blood oranges and their seasonality provide us an opportunity to have some fun in the cold winter months,” says Erich Whisenhunt, the Rio’s food and beverage director. “The Rio — as it has evolved its marg and cocktails — was looking for a new flavor that would be fun and interesting and fit with our culinary aspirations. This year will be our sixth year offering it on a winter seasonal menu.”
Make Your Own Cocktail at Home
Head up to Flagstaff House for the Good Cider Effects cocktail. The drink’s name is play-on-words from the phrase “good side effects,” and it’s a nod to apple cider season. It’s inspired by a classic Manhattan, with some apple, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg flare.
Don’t feel like heading out in the snow? You can try making it at home with their recipe below.
1.5oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
½ oz. Vanilla Simple Syrup
½ oz. Calvados
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Splash of Apple Cider
Shaved Nutmeg on top
Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, Bordeaux cherry, cinnamon, sugar and salt rim.