The Great Après Ski Pub Crawl & Cocktail Competition completes its fifth year

Mar 14, 2017

All the ingredients Guevara at Jimmy's Bodega uses in his competition cocktail "Flowers in the Fiore".
Credit Claire Woodcock/Aspen Public Radio News

Sunday was a breeze with signs of spring as local mixologists from 11 Aspen bars flaunted new concoctions.

At Jimmy’s Bodega, mixologist Alex Guevara passed out his competition cocktail called “Flowers in the Fiore" made with Reyka's vodka.

“It doesn’t really need much to shine. It does it all on its own. So I used a lot of botanicals and very subtle flavors, kind of enhance and showcase what makes that vodka so good,” said Guevara.

Each participating bar is assigned a brand of spirits for which to create a unique drink. Courtney Hughes, an Aspen resident, is sitting by the bar in Bodega’s waiting to try Guevara’s specialty cocktail. But the bartenders are busy, so she turned to her neighbor.

“Can I have a sip of yours? Is that rude? I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” Hughes asked.

Hughes said Bodega’s is her second stop of the day. But it’s still early and she anticipates she’ll head to a new bar soon. She takes a sip of her neighbor’s drink.

“Yeah I’m going into this totally blind but it’s not too sweet, totally refreshing. I would say the lemon is definitely the strongest flavor in this cocktail,” she said.

Before leaving, we ask cocktail creator Guevara where we should go next.

“You have to go to Jimmy’s,” said Guevara. "Flinn Pomeroy is making a Stranahan's cocktail at Jimmy’s. I think it might be the winner if I don’t win.”

Guevara thought right. This year’s jury award went to Pomeroy at Jimmy’s American Restaurant and Bar for the cocktail titled the Après Steezie. The winners for the other categories were Chair 9, Chef’s Club and Justice Snow’s.

Joe Lang co-founded the Aprés Ski Cocktail Classic, which includes the pub crawl, five years ago.

“I half joke we had our off Broadway debut in Snowmass when we launched,” he said.

Lang and friends launched the festival to showcase the local talent of Aspen’s mixing industry on a national scale. He said the challenge for competing bars is that some are assigned spirits that are easier to work with than others.

“No pun intended, in the spirit of the event, I think everyone’s up to the challenge and just enjoys being a part of the afternoon,” said Lang.

One new element to the event was the arrival of Denver mobile cannabis lounge Loopr. In partnership with The Original Leaf dispensary and the cannabis brand Toast, Lang calls the new marijuana stop within the crawl a success.

“It’s kind of nice that there was a place that people could actually consume product as opposed to being sold product and saying you can’t smoke anywhere except in your own private residence,” he said.

In the back of the bus sit a bunch of 40-something locals lighting up. They say it's the highlight of their afternoon and that it’s ingenious because it provides a cool, safe place to get high. That’s all Hal Taback, Loopr's senior vice president wanted to provide.

"People tell me they’ve been waiting for this for 50 years,” said Taback.

Stepping off the bus, the passengers are greeted with a Denver-based marching band that soundtracks their strut to the next stop, ending their afternoon on a high note.