The lobby of the Hewing Hotel looks so charming in winter. A glowing fireplace, surrounded by warm accents and cozy chairs. If we were in the mountains, it would be the kind of place you’d wind down with a bourbon après-ski. But Trish Gavin, who leads the cocktail program here, steers us toward something lighter.
“In the winter, we tend to get into our stirred cocktails, the spirit-forward ones with robust flavors. It’s a challenge to come up with something light and refreshing for the season,” she says. “But this is my second best-selling drink after the old fashioned at the moment. I love that people are becoming aware of aquavit. It’s such a cool spirit and there are so many expressions.”
She mixes a Wilco-named variation on a seasonal French 75. The base spirit is Gamle Ode’s Holiday Aquavit, which carries a ton of baking spice notes along with its characteristic dill flavor, a tug of savory and herbal. The holiday flavors continue with sloe gin (see: Spirits Close-Up, Sloe Gin) that “gives it a smooth textured berry flavor with a little bit of tannin to balance it out.” Some fresh lemon juice and a mix of citrusy bitters round out the drink.
The cranberry looks like a little heart floating in the sparkling wine, and the bubbles shoot the aroma of fresh thyme to the surface. The only heartbreaker here is having to walk back out into the cold.
I’m Trying to Break Your Heart
¾ ounce Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit
¼ ounce Sipsmith Sloe Gin
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce slightly rich simple syrup (1.5 : 1)
1 dash Bittercube Orange Bitters
1 dash Bittercube Jamaican No. 2 Bitters
3 ounces sparkling wine (méthode Champenoise, preferred)
cranberries and thyme sprigs
Add first six ingredients to a shaker with ice, and shake briefly. Add the sparkling wine, then double strain (Hawthorne and fine mesh strainers) into a Champagne flute. Make a small incision on the bottom of a cranberry, insert the end of a thyme sprig, and place the sprig in the flute so the cranberry floats on the surface.