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Anthony Bohlinger, the executive bar director at Food & Wine’s Chefs Club restaurant at the St. Regis Aspen, believes every great holiday cocktail has three essential components. It must evoke the occasion with its color and presentation, include seasonal spices and flavors, and be simple enough to prepare when a party is in full swing. His newest entrant into this category is the Gentleman’s Ridge.
Named after one of the longest black diamond ski runs on Aspen Mountain, the cocktail is an inventive take on milk punch, a classic holiday drink made with milk, brandy (or bourbon), sugar and vanilla, then topped with fresh nutmeg. For his version, Bohlinger uses Woody Creek Distillers’ whiskey from the Chefs Club’s own five-gallon barrel. He mixes that with Angostura bitters, 2 percent milk and milk jam, Bohlinger’s own invention, which adds caramelized sweetness and heft.
To make the jam, Bohlinger reduces whole milk with sugar, salt and baking soda, then blends it. The result is creamy and almost like a “caramel marmalade,” he says. Aside from being ingenious in this holiday cocktail, the milk jam works as a spread for warm toast or even a cookie.
With that component made ahead, the Gentleman’s Ridge comes together quickly. The ingredients are shaken, strained over ice and garnished with grated cinnamon and a mint spring. “Even though this is a cold cocktail it still has some warming qualities to it,” Bohlinger says. “It is the perfect drink after a day on the mountain.”
8 cups whole milk
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Add all of the ingredients to a pot and heat until the temperature reaches 255°. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns golden. Let cool to room temperature, then pour the mixture into a blender. Add 4 ounces of water and blend until it is shiny.
Makes one drink
One ounce 2 percent milk
3/4 ounce milk jam
4 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces whiskey
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake, and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and a slapped mint sprig.