In good spirits: Wet your whistle with these signature Tahoe drinks
Special to the Tribune
There’s nothing quite like winter in Lake Tahoe. You’d have to go out of your way to not enjoy all of the recreation options, despite the chilly temperatures.
From the backcountry to the lake, working hard on the slopes or on the hills, you’re bound to work up a thirst. We’ve put together a fun checklist of cocktails across the region sure to wet your whistle this winter – or any time for that matter. Cheers!
GINGERBREAD OLD FASHIONED
The Details: Buffalo Trace bourbon, gingerbread syrup, angostura and cardamom bitters are the stars of the show. While this cocktail can bring all the tastes of the holidays, it also kicks in with all the feels. And because it’s light and airy, you can enjoy the holidays in the middle of summer and still get a tan – a double win.
The Location: Pioneer Cocktail Club, 521 N. Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Tahoe City)
Learn More: pioneertahoe.com
HAND POLISHED LEMON DROP
The Details: The first thing you notice is the diamond necklace of sugar around the rim, which lets you know immediately to buckle up your taste buds. Fresh blueberry-lemon infused vodka, St. Germain liqueur, and lemon juice, bring the dance to the party – and boy can they cut a rug. Not too sweet, not too tart, like the best options in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it’s just right.
The Location: Bar of America, 10040 Donner Pass Rd. (Truckee)
Learn More: barofamerica.com
The Details: Berry infused vodka, elderflower, citrus, and champagne are the flavors rocking the party barge. It’s so refreshing and smooth it’s like a Lay’s potato chip – we bet you can’t have just one. The spritz from the champagne, combined with the berry undertones and earthy elderflower, it’s sure to trick your taste buds in a good way. There’s no way this drink doesn’t put a smile on your face.
The Location: Fumo, 120 Country Club Dr. (Incline Village)
Learn More: fumotahoe.com
The Details: Why be a boring old Manhattan when you can live a little dangerous and cook with some heat? Angostura bitters are mixed with Sriracha and marinated up to four days, then mixed with sweet vermouth and Maker’s Mark Bourbon. They all ride the merry-go-round together to better incorporate each flavor and then poured into a martini glass and garnished with a dried chili pepper. Pro tip: don’t eat the pepper.
The Location: Austin’s, 120 Country Club Dr. (Incline Village)
Learn More: austinstahoe.com
CHOCOLATE AND BOURBON
The Details: There are so many subtle nuances of flavors in this drink that each drink seems to unravel something new and amazing. It wants you to think it’s a dessert drink, but the alcohol brings you back just enough so you never cross that line. Four Roses small batch bourbon, tiramisu Italian liqueur, sweet vermouth, and chocolate bitters are the lineup here. It’s topped off with a garnish of black cherry and chocolate truffle. It’s super smooth, balanced, and quite playful.
The Location: The Chart House, 392 Kingsbury Grade (Stateline)
Learn More: chart-house.com
BLUEBERRY LEMON MARTINI
The Details: This cocktail goes big on flavors we’re all familiar with: citrus vodka, triple sec, blueberry simple syrup, and lemonade. You know them individually. You’ll love them as a team. Like the Avengers assembling, each one of these ingredients superhero powers get elevated. It’s super smooth and refreshing – as you would expect with all the fruit hopping around like the Easter bunny in a country line dance class.
The Location: Tahoe Tavern & Grill, 219 Kingsbury Grade (Stateline)
Learn More: tahoetavernandgrill.com
The Details: If you get there in time, you may be able to enjoy this drink with Maker’s Mark Ten Crows Private Select. Yes, you can only get this bourbon at Ten Crows and when it’s gone, it’s gone – although you can still order the drink. This hot toddy cocktail combines the bourbon with ginger liqueur, orange bitters, cinnamon, lemon, and of course, hot water. Regardless of what bourbon is getting mixed with it, Honey Badger don’t care.
The Location: Ten Crows, 4011 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (South Lake Tahoe)
Learn More: 10crows.com
The Details: El Sativo blanco tequila, lemon juice, pineapple juice, agave, and Peychaud’s bitters, set you up for a refreshing ride. Once the tequila flavor hits, it gets kicked in the pants by the pineapple and lemon, bringing a subtle, but slightly muted sweetness that kicks down the heavy tequila flavor, effectively balancing out the two perfectly. The sweetness of the agave brings out the natural sweetness in the tequila and when they all get together on the dance floor, you even get a tad bit of creaminess.
The Location: The Cocktail Corner, 2042 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (South Lake Tahoe)
Learn More: tahoecocktailcorner.com
Editor’s Note: This article appears in the 2021-22 edition of Tahoe Magazine.
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