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Vail Harvest Cocktails, Fall Food and Fun!

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The ‘shoulder seasons’ (fall and spring) between the main vaca on mes are o en a perfect me for a sojourn in the mountains. Hotel deals can be at their best and the throngs of usual visitors are at a low. Most warm weather ac vi es s ll abound, with cooler temperatures and beau ful fall foliage as a backdrop making for a sublime vaca on.


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Vail is no excep on. I spent a culinary and adventure filled weekend there mere weeks ago but found it transformed when driving through last weekend. The surrounding mountains offered a dense concentra on of fall color with day me temperatures in the low 70’s, allowing ski slope mountain biking to rage on and the tempta on for a long leaf-peeping trail ride with Vail Stables to be its prime. BLOG ARCHIVE

I recently a ended a Vail Harvest Dinner showcasing the current season’s cuisine with four of the most popular restaurants in Vail: Matsuhisa, Elway’s, Larkspur and Sweet Basil. The chefs ponied up such lovely dishes as Grill Vail Mountain Porcini/LaVenture Farm Gnoochi and Single Estate 68% Dark Chocolate Cake with dried black olive and olive oil chocolate ‘vinaigre e’. All these restaurants roll with the seasonal queues, sourcing local fare which gently coaxes us into the cooler months of hearty, soul-warming food and drink.

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St. Julien Hotel's 'Bon Viva nt' Pa cka ge: Luxury Me... Pea nut-Encrus ted As ia n Pork Tenderloin a nd Fa mily ... Plum Slump a nd An Introduc on to a Friend

► ► Augus t (11) ► ► July (10) ► ► June (11) ► ► Ma y (10) ► ► April (10) ► ► Ma rch (12) ► ► Februa ry (12) ► ► Ja nua ry (12) ► ► 2011 (156) ► ► 2010 (81) MY PHOTO GALLERIES

Matsuhisa: Miso Foie Mousse (Bu ernut squash chip, nobu soy salt and quail egg)

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Larkspur: Grilled Vail Mountain Porcini/LaVenture Farm Gnocchi (Summer truffle fonduta, Edwards green beans)

Sweet Basil: Single Estate 68% Dark Chocolate Cake/Marscapone Mousse (Dried black olive, olive oil and chocolate ‘vinaigre e’, cashew crunch)

Realizing readers at home might want a bit of the Vail Harvest ‘spirit’ each of these four restaurants provided me with a harvest Cocktail recipe to share. I had the dis nct pleasure of making them all to photograph and can unequivalently say they are all a smashing success; with dis nct notes of fall, there is a new favorite here for every palate.

The Palisade Julep – Matsuhisa

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2 ounces of Bulleit bourbon ½ ounce agave syrup/nectar ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice 4 dashes Regan’s orange bi ers ½ ripe Palisade peach, peeled and quartered 5-8 mint leaves

1. Muddle peach and agave in a mixing glass. 2. When peach is completely muddled, add mint. Bruise mint with muddler. 3. Add lemon juice, bourbon, bi ers and ice; shake vigorously. Strain twice into a highball glass with fresh ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

The Ginger Pear Snap - Larkspur

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2 ounces Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka ½ ounce Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur ½ ounce lemon juice ¼ ounce fresh ginger Sprig of rosemary Dash rhubarb bi ers 3 ounces Rocky Mountain Pear Soda Gingerbread spice (for rimming glass) Garnish: dehydrated pear chip, pear slice and/or rosemary sprig

1. Rim a Collins or Highball glass with gingerbread spice. 2. In a shaker mix vodka, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, fresh ginger, and rosemary with ice. Shake vigorously. 3. Fill glass with ice, strain shaker into glass, top with bi ers and pear soda. Garnish with dehydrated pear chip, pear slice and/or rosemary sprig.

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Hot Mulled Colorado Apple Cider – Elway’s

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4 ounces Big B’s Apple Cider (non locals can use fresh apple cider) Mulling spices 1 ½ ounce Berentzen ApfelKorn Apple Schnapps or Myers dark rum Pumpkin spice and sugar (for rimming the glass) Sliced orange (for rimming liquid) Cinnamon s ck for garnish 1. Heat apple cider with mulling spices over low heat for 1 hour. 2. Rim a large brandy sni er with juice of a sliced orange; dip into a shallow glass of pumpkin spice and sugar (1 part pumpkin spice to 5 parts sugar; or to your taste). 3. Add hot cider and apple schnapps or rum. Garnish with cinnamon s ck.

Kentucky Thyme – Sweet Basil

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1 ½ ounces Makers Mark bourbon ½ ounce Mt. Gay rum ½ ounce Thyme Lavender syrup (see below) 5-8 fresh mint leaves ½ ounce water 2 dashes Fees Brothers whiskey barrel aged bi ers Mint leaves for garnish

Place mint leaves, thyme-lavender syrup, water and bi ers in a mixing glass; muddle. Add bourbon and rum with ice; shake lightly and strain into a cocktail glass with fresh ice. Garnish with mint leaves. Thyme Lavender Syrup Boulder Locavore note: this recipe makes much more than needed for one cocktail above. I reduced the ingredients to ¼ of this recipe and it was plenty for a few cocktails.

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2 cups sugar 1 ½ cups water 4 sprigs fresh thyme 10 dried lavender leaves

Bring all ingredients to a boil slowly and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and strain.

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Need ideas for a fall jaunt? Here are just a few upcoming fall ac vi es, in addi on to the regular opportuni es of hiking, cruiser biking, mountain biking down the mountain a er a gondola ride and more: Don’t let my harvest dinner recap torment you! Vail Restaurant Month runs from September 17 – October 14 offering four weekly themes spanning singles, couples and family-focused events. There are loads of events, workshops, hands-on opportuni es and tas ngs of food and drink. For the full calendar click here. The Vail Farmer’s Market, one of the largest in the state, will be in full swing through September 23rd as well! The American Cup Interna onal Fly Fishing Tournament will run from September 20-24. 80 Interna onal youth and adult anglers will be compe ng in some of Colorado’s best trout waters. Fishing aficionados will undoubtedly take note of this pres ge compe on. Runners and cyclist will enjoy the ‘Run, Ride and Refresh’ (September 29) opportunity for a guided group run or ride in the beau ful fall mountains followed by liba ons at the Veal Chophouse (click here for a gander of what I enjoyed there recently) at the bo om of the ski slopes. Runner’s World and Bicycling Magazine’s experts Ellen Miller and Ma Phillips will be on hand for the latest scoop on the sports, gear and training ps. A new ac vity, the ‘Tour of Vail’ (September 29-30), a non-compe ve, supported ride for cyclists of all abili es to support local chari es. Each day offers a different format and opportunity to tour the scenic Vail Valley. This is one of the most beau ful mes of the year in my book and Vail is opening its fall arms. Don’t miss it! For more informa on on these and other fun Vail events, visit

Posted by Boulder Locavore at 4:00 AM

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Labels: Elway's, fall cocktails, fall vail events, harvest cocktail recipes, Larkspur, Matsuhisa, Sweet Basil, Vail, visit colorado

1 comment: Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) September 17, 2012 6:13 AM Tha t ginger pea r s na p ma y be the mos t bea u ful drink I've eve s een. We're hea ding up Thurs da y to our yea rly Es tes Trip. Looks like thos e Fa ll colors won't dis a ppoint. Reply

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Tha nk you s o much for ta king the me to rea d a nd I’d love to hea r your thoughts ! I a pprecia te you lea ving a comment below a nd plea s e note ‘ANONYMOUS’ comments will not be publis hed. Home

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