Life

Bartenders Tell Us The One Whiskey To Bring On A Ski Or Snowboard Trip

While winter in much of the country can be cold, bleak, and downright miserable, it’s also the perfect time of year for some of the most fun winter-based sports and activities. This includes ice skating, ice hockey, and sledding. But in all of winterdom, there’s nothing more exciting than a ski trip with friends and family.

Especially if you remember to pack the right supplies. And by supplies we mean whiskey. Alexander Carlin, beverage director for Infuse Hospitality in Chicago, has fond memories of spending the holidays skiing in Park City, Utah with his family.

“Although we don’t ski together anymore, I always make a point to bring a little bit of Park City with me and share a little High West Campfire with friends,” he says. “My father was a big scotch drinker and I drink more rye. Campfire is an odd duck that uses Straight Rye, Straight Bourbon, and Blended Malt Scotch to create a perfect combination of peat, caramel, and malted flavors. It shocks people every time.”

While it’s hard to top Campfire in terms of flavor, there are many other whiskeys that would be right at home in your suitcase for your next ski trip. Picking the right bottle is important. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to whiskeys for a ski (or snowboard) trip or wintry getaway.

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Chris Heinrich, head bartender at Tre Rivali in Milwaukee

Irish whiskey does it right when you’re winter adventuring with friends. Tullamore D.E.W. has long kept me and my friends company. That sweet snap, fresh bite, and very manageable proof allow you an easy nip before hitting the slopes.

Balcones Baby Blue Single Batch Bourbon

Gabe Briseno, bartender at Employees Only in Los Angeles

Balcones Baby Blue Single Batch Bourbon is perfect after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. It smells like cinnamon and chocolate, but has some great vanilla flavors with a beautiful tobacco finish.

Weller Reserve Bourbon

Sam Garcia, head bartender at Boleo Rooftop in Chicago

I’ll bring Weller Reserve. Weller is a little harder to come by, so it’s meant for a special occasion. It would be great for a sip before hitting the slopes or to warm you up next to a fire after a long day outside.

Colonel EH Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon

Taylor Scoma, manager of Stacked Sandwich Shop in Portland, Oregon

These types of trips are where I like to splurge on a really nice bottle to share with my close friends and family, so I would bring a bottle of Colonel EH Taylor Single Barrel from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Did I find out about this collection because it has my name in it? Yes, but this kind of whiskey warms you up and wakes you up as soon as you take a sip, which is necessary in a cozy cabin atmosphere. It’s not in many bars or even liquor stores, so if you can get your hands on one make sure you drink it with someone special.

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Andres Padilla, head bartender of 312 in Chicago

Wild Turkey 101 bourbon is the perfect accompaniment for a day of skiing. The vanilla and caramel notes make it the perfect choice to warm up with and relax.

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky

Michelle Hamo, bartender at Brabo Brasserie in Alexandria, Virginia

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is full-bodied and on the sweeter side of things. Like a lot of Japanese whiskies, it tries to emulate scotch and succeeds spectacularly with a unique twist of bold tropical fruit and citrus. This is a great bottle to share with friends after a long day of winter activities while you sit by the fireplace.

Breckenridge Dark Arts Bourbon

Nick Meyer, beverage director at Ronan in Los Angeles

Breckenridge Bourbon is great whiskey made in Breckenridge, Colorado, which is one of my favorite places to snowboard in the country. Breckenridge Distillery makes a limited “Dark Arts” bourbon distilled from Malt mash — the flavor is layered and rich, and it’s the best thing to put in your hip flask for crushing ski runs.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Lauren Mathews, lead bartender at Urbana in Washington, DC

Buffalo Trace has a hint of sweetness that makes it a real crowd pleaser and works in a variety of cocktails. Plus, it’ll warm you up after a day out in the snow.

Aberlour A’bunadh Speyside Single Malt Whisky

Nick Detrich, co-owner of Jewel of the South in New Orleans

A whisky that is warming, comforting, and familiar, but also stout enough that you don’t want to guzzle it. Give me a bottle of Aberlour A’Bunadh Speyside single malt. A nice sipper to linger on; to absent-mindedly run your finger on the rim as you finish a chapter in a good book by the fire.

Rittenhouse Rye

Charity Johnston, beverage director at Toca Madera in West Hollywood, California

I’m going to go with Rittenhouse Rye. When I think of being in the snow, my go-to is always a rye — something spicier to warm you from the inside out. It’s 100 proof so it can stand up to the cold but is a lighter and fruitier rye with some nice cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, and dried fruit flavor. Also — because the price point is affordable and it’s easy-drinking — it’s also perfect for playing drinking games in a cabin, or spiking hot cocoa.

Templeton Rye

Hailey Coder, lead bartender at The Park Bistro & Bar in Lafayette, California

Templeton Rye is truly the good stuff. I love the smell of cedar and the flavor of vanilla. It is light with bold flavors that can be made easily made into an old fashioned or poured over a nice big clear ice cube.

Pikesville Rye

Josh Korn, bar manager at Bar West in Portland, Oregon

If I had to pick one whiskey to drink after a day in the snow, it’d be Pikesville Rye. With six years of aging, all of the winter flavors are represented in this rye–it’s hot on the palate but sweet on the finish, replete with baking spices and caramel notes. It’s hands down my favorite whiskey for an Old Fashioned because it’s 110 proof allows it to rest on ice without ever tasting watered down, and at around $50 a bottle it’s affordable enough to splurge on while being nice enough to give as a gift or take on a special trip.

Slane Irish Whiskey

Daniel Burns, manager and bar lead at Elixir in San Francisco

Ever since my school days Irish whiskey has been a staple in our flasks and cabins. Slane Whiskey has a unique bourbon quality that makes it particularly bold and rich. When your toes are too numb to kick Slane will do it for you.

Caribou Crossing Whisky

Rob Boyd, bartender at Dusek’s Board and Beer in Chicago

If I was on outdoors vacation during the winter and could only bring one whiskey, it would be Caribou Crossing. It’s just an easy-drinking all day whiskey. Smooth and approachable at 40 percent. Great flavor to enjoy on its own by a fire at night. But you won’t feel like you’re wasting it mixing with whatever soda you pick up at the last gas station before heading into the woods. And the bottle just looks like it belongs in a cabin.

High West Campfire

Jason Werth, bartender at Motif in Seattle

High West makes a blended whiskey called Campfire that couldn’t be more perfect for bundling up after a day in the snow. High West takes the best parts of bourbon, rye, and scotch whiskeys and blends them together into something entirely new, and fully delicious. From the bourbon you get some nice sweetness, the rye adds a bit of spice, and from the scotch, a healthy dose of smoky peat.

If I were king, St. Bernard rescue dogs would all have High West’s Campfire in their collar flasks.

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