News Flash – Sweet Basil

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, which leads to many more reviews and many fewer actually created cocktails. For that I apologize, and the good news is I’ll be back home for at least one weekend this month and so should have time to stock up on some new recipes. Until then, let’s talk about Vail.

We had the opportunity to visit Vail, CO, at the end of March. You may have already seen my post on Vail Brewing Company but what, you might say, about the cocktails? Well, we had a spectacular meal at Sweet Basil (which you can read more about at the PiC’s blog) which was accompanied by some equally fantastic cocktails.

Re-Fig-Ured Manhattan

Re-Fig-Ured Manhattan – George Dickel Whisky, Amaro Spiced Fig Jam, Orange Zest

This was a very tasty drink. I’ve had a fig Old Fashioned before, and to be honest it wasn’t great. However, this blended the elements together in a much better way (no clot of jam at the bottom of the glass) and was refreshingly sweet and flavorful. It was just bitter enough, just sweet enough, had just enough alcohol bite.

Beso del Diablo

Beso Del Diablo – Habañero Silver Tequila, Cointreau, Lime, Blood Orange Puree, Licor 43

This was the star of the meal (so much so that, after the PiC ordered one as her first drink, I ordered one as my second). It was a great margarita-esque drink, but with a few important differences. For one, Licor 43 is mostly vanilla flavored, and so that plus the blood orange gave good body to the drink, but not enough to be a creamsicle. And, more importantly perhaps, the tequila was insanely spicy. This forced you to sip and savor this drink, more so than you might have otherwise. And, like any good spicy salsa, the habañeros actually lent a fair bit of their flavor to the mix, too, resulting in a perfect accompaniment to an amazing meal.

In sum, if you’re ever in Vail, please check this place out. If I’m ever back, I will definitely go again, if only to sit at the bar and drink a few more cocktails.

News Flash – Vail Brewing Company

The Board of Majesty

In honor of National Beer Day today, I give you our latest trip to a brewery — this time in Vail, Colorado. We sat down at the aptly named Vail Brewing Company for a couple hours last week, and were loathe to leave, and not just because there was a snowstorm brewing outside. It was their second birthday, and they had great live music, a charming atmosphere and, above all, some interesting and tasty beers. Here they are, in no particular order.

Brown, English, Stout

(From left to right)

Down River Brown – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 40 SRM

This was super drinkable, and had a nice malty flavor with almost no hops (though a higher IBU than I would have expected). Not a huge amount of flavor overall? But it was nice to sip. I liked this more than the PiC.

Us and Them English Ale – 6.0% ABV – 40 IBU – 14 SRM

This was also very nice. Caramel notes, with more hops but still sweet. I generally like ESBs so I’m biased, though the PiC actually liked this more than me. A little dryer than usual, perhaps? The hoppy bitterness lingers longer than I would like, but it’s overall very nice.

Brother From Another Udder Stout – 5.9% ABV – 29 IBU – 40 SRM

This had a very strong coffee smell, but no taste of it — thankfully. Really nice and thick, with a silky texture. The PiC described it as smoky and burnt, which I agree with. We asked the bartender, and it’s an oat chocolate vanilla milk stout. Many adjectives, but it at least made the name make sense.

Warmer, Blonde, Raspberry

(From left to right)

Hut Trip Winter Warmer – 5.7% ABV – 18 IBU – 27 SRM

This was number one on both of our lists. It had a really interesting smell, of chocolate and cinnamon, but really didn’t taste that way at all. It was a Very nice. Interesting smell, chocolate and cinnamon. It was made with vanilla black tea, herbal chai, and cinnamon, and you could taste the chai especially. Colorwise, it was dark for a warmer, but I think that’s because of the tea?

Hot Mess Blonde – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 4.5 SRM

Like the raspberry blonde (below) without the raspberry. It was a little sweeter and rounder, and also a bit wheatier which doesn’t really make sense. It was much better without the fruit, and it was our third choice overall. There was a touch too much hops, perhaps, but that’s me being a wimp about bitterness.

Pink Vail! Raspberry Blonde – 5.4% ABV – 4 SRM

This was good! But still number six for us. It wasn’t super fruity, and had some nice hoppy notes. Very easy drinking, with a twist. The PiC wished there was a little more raspberry, but I was okay with it — almost just an aftertaste.