Ask anyone on the chairlift to their first run of the day, and they’ll tell you: Planning for après-ski is every bit as important as the skiing itself. And while shot skis, local beers and jammed-packed hot tub scenes all have their place in the warm-yourself-up bar rotation, sometimes you want something a little more, well, refined. Below are six ski town cocktail bars that are changing what it means to have a post-slopes tipple.
Why it’s chill: A plush, elegant space with an unrepentant focus on celebrating the seasonal flavors of Jackson Hole, The Rose offers a beautifully illustrated menu that lays out a host of punches, classic cocktails and in-house innovations served up with cheeky descriptions.
What to drink: Stay warm with the Cougar Bait, which combines Old Grand-Dad bonded bourbon, ginger, apple, lemon, black walnut bitters and habanero shrub.
Why it’s chill: Dogwood boasts what is perhaps the perfect atmosphere after a long day on the slopes: a woodsy, laid-back environment and a whip-smart selection of uber-playful cocktails.
What to drink: The Herban Cowboy, made with whiskey, black pepper, fernet, pomegranate and molasses, is an ideal give-and-take of spicy and sweet, but the really adventurous should opt for the Romeo y Julieta, which combines rum, hibiscus, mint and—wait for it—tobacco.
Why it’s chill: The bar program might just be the unsung hero of this imaginative Park City restaurant, where drinks and dishes are as beautifully presented as they are delicious.
What to drink: Handle’s spin on the Old Fashioned made with jallab syrup (a combination of rose water and grape molasses) is a strong contender, but since you’re out west, opt for the Rattlesnake, which is “branded” with an H, naturally.
Why it’s chill: Feeling a little under the weather after too much snow bunny activity? Let the doctors (er, bartenders) at The Remedy Bar cure what ails you, whether it’s a Champagne flight or a cocktail whipped up tableside.
What to drink: No question, first-timers have to go with the legendary house-made Chantilly-cream-topped Haute Chocolate. If you’re really hurting, the Medicine Cabinet (bourbon, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and Carpano Antica Formula vermouth) is always available over-the-counter (aka on draft).
Why it’s chill: Motor Room Bar is, far and away, one of the most unique après-ski experiences out there. For a few short months each year, adventurous Killington visitors can be whisked away on a snowcat to the drive terminal of the area’s very first passenger lift, which has been converted into a one-of-a-kind space for drinking and dining as the snow falls.
What to drink: Drinks and dinner are ever-rotating and set on a nightly basis (no substitutions allowed), with reservations required and proper winter-weather-friendly attire a must. As the bar points out, “The snow and cold is unavoidable on this excursion.” Indeed.
Why it’s chill: Located inside the breathtaking Wheeler Opera House, Justice Snow’s commitment to making drinks that genuflect toward its historically regal surroundings (think absinthe fountains, vintage glassware) is matched only by a love of pushing flavor profiles forward with local flair.
What to drink: There’s no doubt that there’s something for everyone here: The bar boasts a leather-bound menu of more than 95 cocktails (including some pretty impressive large-format options and beer-tails). Keep it seasonal and opt for a fresh spin on a classic by ordering the Hot Buttered urm Flip, made with spiced rum, house-made spiced vanilla ice cream, brown sugar, egg yolks and butter.