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.