September 02 • Distillers
If you’re someone who aspires to climb Mount Everest one day, I commend you.
For the rest of us mere mortals, the idea of an elongated day on the ski field is more than enough. Why would you suffer through piercing winds, potential avalanches, and frostbitten toes when you can wind your merry way down a mediocre ski slope?
Let me entice you even more. There’s nothing quite like putting a good hard day in on the powder to warrant a strong, warming drink at the end of it – preferably by a large, crackling fire.
Breckenridge is somewhere you’ve either been, or you haven’t. If you have, you’ll know what I’m getting at with these ski allegories. If you haven’t, and you enjoy the occasional day on the slopes ending with a stiff drink, then you’ll want to go – yesterday.
It’s not the camaraderie of sports-mad people that will make you not want to leave Breckenridge. Neither is it the fact that Breckenridge is Colorado’s answer to a bougie Swiss ski town, either. It’s the booze.
Thanks to Bryan Nolt, founder of Breckenridge Distillery, you can be guaranteed a deliciously heartwarming drink at the end of each slope day.
Even Bryan isn’t too sure why he chose Breckenridge as his distillery destination back in 2007. It was the gamble of a lifetime, that’s for sure – taking out his college fund, life savings and eventually getting rid of the house too to pursue his spirit pipedream.
All we can say is thank goodness he did. By taking the more recent cliché ‘work smarter, not harder’ that is often associated with this generation’s entrepreneurs, Bryan noticed a gap in the market at Breckenridge and found a way to connect winter sports with spirits.
We’re talking literally here. This is because the secret to Bryan’s successful spirit company is in the water. The snow water that is. The 4,000 square foot space that is Breckenridge Distillery doubles as a public showcase.
Once you’ve had enough of the snow, simply step into the spacious area of Breckenridge and watch in awe and wonder as Bryan’s staff ferment, distill and mash products like vodka and bourbon with their unusual secret ingredient – snowmelt water.
Bryan considers this to be an unfair advantage. After all, who else has exclusive, unlimited access to one of the world’s purest, untouched water supply?
There’s a good reason that Breckenridge has become home to Bryan’s distillery – it wasn’t just a whimsical, romantic gesture as an alternative to college. Bryan believes in distilling spirits that are going to ignite the simple pleasures for you, especially after a day of skiing.
Regarding the stiff drinks that are on supply, these simple pleasures include flavor, quality, and mouthfeel. Bryan understands that you’re going to appreciate the quality him, and his staff put into their spirits – but don’t want it to be complicated. Who wants to be talked at about the technical side of this stuff after a day in the elements?
Unfortunately, summer isn’t exactly ski season. However, you may just find yourself back at Breckenridge for a sample of their Colorado Western slope fruits. Breckenridge Distillery uses these for their Liqueurs, Brandies, and Vodka flavorings.
Breckenridge spirits wouldn’t be what they are without using local ingredients. This is what Bryan and Breckenridge Distillery aim for as much as possible. Their small batches of bourbon, whiskey distilled botanicals and rum are available year-round.
All this talk of fruits and flavors is making me thirsty. Let’s backflip in and see what Breckenridge Distillery has on offer.
Breckenridge Vodka: this drink is going to be an excellent choice if your ski day didn’t go quite according to plan. Maybe the gondola got stuck two too many times – or perhaps you aren’t as good at skiing as you remember.
Never fear, vodka is here. Breckenridge Distillery’s vodka is naturally clean and brilliantly clear. It has gentles notes of fragrant meadow flowers coupled with delicious lemon cream. This vodka is light-bodied with a warm, soft texture balanced by a sweet, mellow finish.
You’ll find the famous ski-slope water in this vodka. In fact, the minerality of the Breckenridge water used for proofing and blending gives it that perfect mouthfeel you look for in a vodka.
Espresso Flavored Vodka: we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps this next vodka is best enjoyed before a good, hardy ski. I mean, think about it – you’re not going to want to drink coffee after the fact, are you? Better to kick it back first thing and reap the rewards with a winning performance on the slopes.
Hold that thought, because it’ll be the placebo – the beans are decaffeinated. Still worth a try though, in our opinion.
Breckenridge Distillery’s Espresso Flavored Vodka involved blood sweat and tears to make – Swiss sweat, that is. They say that it took more effort to source their Swiss water decaffeinated beans than they ever predicted. Like you, however, they believe it was worth it.
Breckenridge Spiced Rum: order a decanter of this on the rocks, shaken, not stirred, and you’ll put your ski boots up feeling like James Bond. Colorado rum mixes with sugar and spices in this exquisite little number. Breckenridge itself then mashes and distills it.
You’d better get skiing if you want to taste this rum, though – because it needs aging. Once it’s been aged in Breckenridge’s gold-medal winning bourbon casks, it’s then finished off with dried fruits, spices and roots. This is a personal favorite of the Breckenridge team, tempting us to believe that Bond himself would throw it back.
We think it’s safe to say that when you’re done on the slopes, your day of self-discovery and learning isn’t over. All you have to do is step into the world of Breckenridge distillery and encounter what it’s like to finish a powder day off the right way.
For your après-ski favorite distillery, make a habit out of Breckenridge. It couldn’t be better, really – since 2007 Bryan has made a point of bringing the post-workout drink to you so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds at one of the highest points Breckenridge, Colorado has to offer.
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