Tahoe’s hottest craft cocktails

With the arrival of snow, holidays and cold winter weather, what better time is there to sip on a warm libation. Some like it hot, some lean toward the spicy while others indulge in the sweetness of life. Here are a few hot cocktails being prepared around Tahoe to tempt your taste buds and some recipes to make at home for your next holiday event.

“Whether home, après ski or visiting one of Tahoe’s numerous bars, check out a hot one this winter.”

Craft creations | Tahoe Donner
Nate Fryirs aka Aussie Nate has been bartending at The Lodge in Tahoe Donner since it opened. He shook it up with a few of their hot, winter drinks. He served the Chain Up, prepared with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, coffee and whipped cream. He also whipped up The Snuggle Up made with Vanilla Vodka, Wondermint (a peppermint liquor), hot cocoa and whipped cream. Fryirs described this drink as “Christmas in a cup.”

The Chain Up The Lodge at Tahoe Donner

He wasn’t finished, and as with most bartenders, Fryirs loves to create, he topped off the visit with his own hot cocktail, made with Frangelico, vanilla vodka, Kahlua and equal parts hot chocolate and coffee. It had just the right amount of sweet with a tasty, nutty flavor.

The Snuggle Up at The Lodge

If you head up to the lodge when Aussie Nate is working, ask him to prepare The Warm and Cozy, made especially for Tahoe Weekly; it’s not on their cocktail list. | tahoedonner.com


Fireside Drinks | Lone Eagle Grille
The Lone Eagle Grille at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village offers a number of Fireside Drinks including the Chocolate Salty Pretzel prepared with Frangelico, vanilla vodka, hot chocolate and topped off with a salted rim, and The Autumn Snuggler created with pecan-infused Applejack, hot apple cider, fresh lemon, cinnamon syrup and a caramel rim. | longeaglegrille.com

Courtesy Lone Eagle Grille | Hyatt Regency

The Handwarmer | Tahoe Blue Vodka
Matt Levitt of Tahoe Blue Vodka is all about infusing these days with his brand of vodka. He offers the following recipe that uses cinnamon-infused Tahoe Blue Vodka as the base the hot cocktail, The Handwarmer. The recipe is easy.

Tahoe Blue Vodka’s The Handwarmer

Mix 1.5 oz. of cinnamon-infused Tahoe Blue Vodka with 6 oz. of hot cider or hot chocolate depending on your mood. Top off this libation with some whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

This cocktail can be found at Jason’s in Kings Beach and Moe’s BBQ in Tahoe City. “Infusing vodka is easy, just drop two 3-inch cinnamon sticks in a 750 ml bottle of Tahoe Blue Vodka and let it sit for three days and then make your cocktail,” explains Levitt. | tahoebluevodka.com.


Rye Wry Cider | Moody’s
At Moody’s Bistro and Bar in Truckee, you can find the lovely Sara Sarrett behind the bar on most nights brewing up some hot cocktails. Peter Fain, the bar manager, was on hand to prepare one of Moody’s newest winter cocktails, the Rye Wry Cider.

The Rye Wry Cider at Moody’s Bistro

Made with Bullet Rye, fresh lemon juice and hot cider, Fain shaved in nutmeg and a dollop of fresh cream and topped it off with a cinnamon stick. The blend of rye and cider was delicious and the unexpected addition of cream and spices was a nice touch. A great drink to sip on while listening to live music at Moody’s Thursday through Saturday. | moodysbistro.com


Squirrel Murphy | Truckee Tavern
The Truckee Tavern and Grill was next on my hit list. Ryan Dierks, co-owner and a most creative mixologist was on hand to highlight Tavern’s new winter cocktails. Each drink on the menu is named after a reference to “Hot Dog: The Movie.” Dierks mixed up a Squirrel Murphy made with hot bourbon, housemade chocolate ganache, cinnamon, cloves, whipped cream and topped off with caramel and salt.

Squirrel Murphy at Truvkee Tavern

This fabulous dessert in a glass, created by Tavern bartender Bruce Thomblin and Chef Donovan Webb was sweet, creamy and delicious. Dierks also whipped up an excellent Hot Toddy prepared with Jones Pepper Rye Whiskey, fresh lemon juice and ginger. | truckeetavern.com

Truckee Tavern’s Hot Toddy

Celia De Benedetti’s winter drink
In addition to our local establishments there are folks who make their own homemade hot cocktails. Tahoe resident Celia De Benedetti saw my Facebook post and sent me her favorite winter drink. She uses a sachet of mulling spices (she buys hers at the Salt-Savory-Sweet Shop in Reno) and mixes the spices with a quart of raw Apple Cider Vinegar and heats the mixture over a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes. She then adds a shot of Eagle Rare Bourbon to a mug and tops off with hot cider.

Whether home, après ski or visiting one of Tahoe’s numerous bars, check out a hot one this winter.

  • Think you make a great cocktail? Then, Enter West Shore cafe’s Bartender Competition. See Tasty Tidbits in this issue for details.
  • Share your favorite hot cocktail recipes at facebook.com/TheTahoeWeekly and post your photos on instagram.com/thetahoeweekly.
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Priya Hutner is a food writer, personal chef and owner of The Seasoned Sage, a local meal delivery and catering company. Cooking is a meditation for Priya, it is from that place she curates her menus and recipes to create delicious and nutritious meals for The Seasoned Sage, her company catering to client’s culinary preferences and dietary restrictions. Priya has been creating and preparing meals from an early age. She has worked in the restaurant industry in New York City, attended catering school, and was the head chef and executive director of a nonprofit spiritual community in Florida. She is also working on a series of cookbooks. Visit her website at TheSeasonedSage.com or contact her at priya@theseasonedsage.com. Send your comments, story ideas and food tidbits to priya@tahoethisweek.com.