Tahoe Top 5: Plumpjack serving up winter cocktails
The bar in PlumpJack at Squaw Valley is taking inspiration from cold weather and true-to-form techniques to serve up winter cocktails that rival pre-prohibition days.
PlumpJack is known for it’s extensive wine list, which currently lists 726 selections, including PlumpJack-brand wines among hundreds of others; and has earned the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.
“While we are winery-focused, the bar isn’t biased strictly toward our wines. It’s all about the quality, how the grapes are grown. We choose organic or biodynamic wines and have the same focus as our food menu — it’s all about the flavor,” said Jason Shulz, food and beverage manager and certified specialist in wine, who is soon to test for his sommelier certification.
The menu spans much further than wine, also offering guests beers, spirits and even a monthly signature cocktail page entitled, “An Ode to the Classics”.
Each month, food and beverage manager and design specialist Stephanie Hoppe researches the origin of their featured cocktails of choice, while PlumpJack’s bar manager and certified sommelier, Jake Spero, and his expert bartenders get to the root of how the original drink was made to serve their bar guests true classic recipes.
Snow on the ground means this month’s theme is Flips & Nogs and as Spero explained, it’s all about warm flavors.
“Most people love eggnog, it’s perfect for the holidays and brings people right back to their Christmas memories; I can remember sneaking eggnog as a kid,” Spero laughed.
Longtime locals say the bar is a great place to find not only delicious food and drink, but also top-notch service.
“The atmosphere and service is wonderful. After one trip they remember everything you ordered; Evan always knows my usual. I also really enjoy their house made tonic,” said Charlie Fong, a Truckee local since 1986.
Below are PlumpJack’s Top Five Winter Cocktails featuring house made ingredients to enjoy on a cold day in Truckee-Tahoe.
1. A True Christmas Classic
What is the holiday season without the sweet, strong, rich vanilla and almond flavor of good eggnog? PlumpJack’s recipe uses Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum, Alvear Pedro Jiminez Sherry, egg, sugar, vanilla syrup, Orgeat, heavy cream, and nutmeg.
“You almost can’t serve eggnog without the freshly grated nutmeg,” Spero said.
2. Some Like it Hot
For warm beverages this season, Spero recommends the Hot Ale Flip or the Magenta Toddy.
The Hot Ale Flip has a unique flavor and features Merlet VS Cognac, Diplomatico Anejo Rum, molasses, Heretic Chocolate Hazlenut Porter, egg, and nutmeg.
The egg is poured back-and-forth in an old-school technique to slowly temper it into the drink.
The Magenta Toddy resembles a cross between hot cider and toddy, and is made with PJ Select Woodford Reserve, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Barsotti’s apple cider, hibiscus tea syrup, and lemon.
3. The Grand Slam of Cocktails
PlumpJack features the Breakfast Flip and the Mayan Warrior, two drinks that take the cocktail to a whole new luxurious level.
The Breakfast Flip cocktail was inspired by the grand slam breakfast platter, which includes eggs, bacon and pancakes. In cocktail form, that translates to a drink using bacon infused bourbon, maple syrup, Sibona Amaro, egg, Angostura bitters, and a strip of bacon on top.
4. A Perfectly Balanced Drink
The Mayan Warrior is a tequila drink that Spero says covers all the base flavors of acid, fruit, sweetness, and smokiness.
It is made with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Artenom 1579 Tequila Blanco, Amaro Sfumato, grapefruit, lemon, prickly pear, and Scrappy’s Habanero bitters.
5. Keep it Light for the Morning
Go Green is a refreshing cocktail that Spero recommended as a morning alternative to the popular Bloody Mary.
The beautiful bright drink is made with lemongrass infused Barsol Pisco, green Chartreuse, parsley, peas, grapes, grapefruit, lemon, and Orgeat.
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.