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Top, Top Shelf

BY Laurel Miller | December 31, 2018 | Feature Features

Drinking in Aspen can be outrageous, especially with these expensive elixirs.
The Shibuya from Monarch is a Manhattan done right, with a gold-leaf cherry on top.

Aspen is no stranger to excess, especially when it comes to imbibing. For those times when a draft beer just won’t cut it, the following places have turned crafting a cocktail or curating a wine cellar into high art—sometimes, with an equally hefty price tag.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 7908
Spirits director Matt Corbin created this spin on the famous 1930s Vieux Carré cocktail, swapping out a generic rye whiskey for Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old bourbon. The resulting $500 libation, which also contains Louis XIII Cognac, vermouth and Benedictine, served in a vintage Duncan and Miller Adoration glassware, is a smooth, seductive sip for those times when a glass of bubbly seems too much of a cliche. 415 E. Hyman Ave., 970.516.7908,

Shibuya, The Monarch
Aspen’s swankiest steakhouse features an equally luxurious Manhattan menu, with variations on the classic. If you’re looking for the perfect partner to go with that medium-rare ribeye, the Shibuya (Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky, Carpano Antica formula sweet vermouth, bitters, gold-leaf cherry, $28) delivers the proverbial—and literal—cherry on top. 411 S. Monarch St., 970.925.2838,

The Jack Sparrow, Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar
This elegant basement bar serves up thoughtfully curated and created drinks from the Meat & Cheese team. Its newly added tiki-style cocktail (jackfruit-infused Mezcal Vago Espadin, fresh citrus juice, tiki syrup, kaffir lime, winter melon bitters, egg white, $15) adds an agave-fueled kick to an eclectic array of flavors. It’s always summer somewhere. 301 E. Hopkins Ave., 970.710.7275,

Dom Pérignon P3, 1971, The Little Nell
With a wine cellar boasting more than 20,000 bottles, there are still rare treasures like this French superstar ($6,540), which has achieved its third plenitude, or pinnacle of expression. “Champagne ages incredibly well, mainly due to the superhigh acid levels; I’ve tried bottles that date back to the 1940s,” says wine director and master sommelier Carlton McCoy. 675 E. Durant Ave., 970.920.4600,

Château Margaux 1996 Grand Cru, Of Grape & Grain
Aspen’s most exclusive wine shop has several magnums of this first growth blend (82 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12 percent merlot, 4 percent petit verdot, 2 percent cabernet franc, $3,490) on hand. With hints of dark fruit, spice and minerality and a near-perfect balance of acidity, this purchase is literally “go big or go home.” 111 S. Monarch St., 970.925.8600

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