Where: at the Wheeler Opera House, 328 E. Hyman Avenue, Aspen
Don’t Miss: Their 33 page cocktail list with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
One of the greatest things about living in Denver is how easy it is to escape the city. Don’t get me wrong, I love living among the urban skyline. But Denverites are also lucky that a few hours west of the city lie some of the most beautiful places in the country. While most people visit during the ski season, the surrounding mountain towns can also fill up during the summer holidays. Celebrating America’s birthday this year was the perfect reason to head up to Aspen to visit family, old friends, and amazing local restaurants like Justice Snow’s.
Named “Best High-Altitude Bar” by Playboy Magazine, Justice Snow’s not only features a locally sourced lunch and dinner menu, but also proudly boasts an extensive cocktail list. And when I say extensive, I mean your server will literally hand you a leather bound binder with over 33 pages of cocktails to choose from. For the drinkers looking for something more adventurous to sip on, Justice Snow’s features an absinthe drink presentation (sugar cube, flaming shot and all) or group punch bowl mixtures for the table.
Since I’ve already declared myself a whiskey girl (see here), I opted with the “Don’t Drink the Water” bourbon concoction off of the summer cocktail menu. This drink was made with Breckenridge Colorado Bourbon, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Fee Brother’s Rose Water and Angostura Bitters. It was very simple, served in a coupe with a rose petal garnish, but packed a lot of delicate flavors and went down smooth. Their cocktail syrups are created in house and the drinks that we tried had a freshly mixed, not out-of-a-plastic-bottle taste.
My boyfriend chose the “Hamlet of Shacksbury” cocktail which was an assortment of ingredients that I wouldn’t even dream of putting together. Whistle Pig 10 year Rye Whiskey was shaken with Vermont Maple Syrup, muddled strawberry and lemon juice, egg white and Boylan’s Cream Soda. I thought that sounded a little too extreme, even for me. But as soon as I got a first sip, I realized that the mixologists at Justice Snow really have a handle on creating delicious cocktails.
For starters, the menu features a list of appetizers affectionately called Snacks. We are a snack loving couple, even if it’s just before dinner, so we opted for the tempura pickles. The chef did not skimp on the tempura batter and added agave nectar. This made for a sweet and tart start to our meal. A special thanks to our chef for bringing out an even number of pickles, because I’m sure there would have been a dating death match if my boyfriend and I had to decide who got the last one. Luckily, all ended well and we were beyond content with our snack choice.
Justice Snow’s is also favorable among downtown visitors because it includes reasonably priced entrees on their dinner menu. My boyfriend opted for the $10 House Burger and fries (he’s not a fan of change) and was not disappointed. I ordered the Grilled Flat Iron Steak. Topped with a smoky blue cheese butter (can’t go wrong there) and served with a cauliflower-potato puree and kale, this dish was filled with savory flavor and each bite of the kale-puree-steak mixture that I created was completely fulfilling.
For dessert, we requested the 4-Layer Chocolate Cake. The presentation was really sweet and had a home-cooked dessert feel to it. The cake was served with a glass of milk on the side and drizzled with salted caramel sauce. I was tempted to ask for more of the salted caramel sauce on the side since it was so good, but I elected to keep it classy and stuck with what we were served instead.
Whether you and a date visit Aspen for a holiday or just a casual weekend, this mountain town houses a number of great restaurants. Justice Snow’s is essential if you are looking for a menu of creative cocktails, reasonably priced plates and delectable desserts. Since we are lucky enough to get Rocky Mountain High every couple of months or so, we will definitely be heading back to add more cocktails to our must-try list. And for the single girls out there, I can tell you from experience that Aspen breeds a lot of great guys. So if you meet your future boyfriend at Justice Snow’s, you can thank me later.