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Warming Up With Booze

If you're afraid that ordering a hot, boozy drink makes you look like a college girl or a cougars, you should be. That doesn't make them any less tasty—or effective at warming you up.
posted: 07/29/2009
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After six hours in the backcountry nearing hypothermia and with powder in his crack, the average blue-lipped skier strides up to the bar and orders…a cold one. Unless you’re chasing that frost-brewed Silver Bullet with a bowl of chicken noodle, you’re being a dumbass. Most skiers are temperaturists, prejudiced against the steaming, chest-clearing draughts favored by ski pioneers. We’re saying it’s time to reclaim that tradition. Hot, boozy beverages should be the first swing on your dance card.

Sure, modern hot drinks have a bad rep—many of them sit squarely in the, uh, “elaborate” category. “It’s women and the city skiers in the neon fag bags who usually go for hot drinks,” admits Ari Borshel, bartender and general manager of Jackson’s Mangy Moose. He estimates hot drinks make up 15 percent of his orders. “We can usually sell them a BFK coffee [Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlúa, and coffee] for eight bucks.” But there are plenty of affordable heat-’n’-serve beverages that do pass the macho test. Consider the classic toddy. A squirt of lemon juice, a touch of honey, steeped in hot-ass whiskey, just the way grandpa liked to black out. Then there’s grog, a steamy hit of rum and sugar. There’s no shame in hot sake, or Russian or Irish coffee, even with the whipped cream. Even hot cider with bourbon is a respectable if deadly mix. There are dozens of potions that eschew cocoa and raspberry liqueur. Have a serious conversation about it with your local mixologist and find out for yourself.

The advantage is that hot drinks dilate your blood vessels, pumping the alcohol into your system faster, an obvious benefit for the terminally broke, the mildly alcoholic, or those considering dancing. And if you order up a stein and decide you’re not a grog man, at the very least you can soak your toes in it.

- SKIING MAGAZINE, JANUARY 2009

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