Recent Colorado transplant Anthony Bohlinger is breathing new life into the bar program at Aspen’s Chefs Club. The new beverage director at the Food & Wine–concept restaurant (which is located inside the St. Regis Aspen Resort) is a veteran mixologist. His background includes managing bar programs in New York City, Miami, and guest bartending at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this past June. That gig, in fact, spurred on his new position at Chefs Club.
After moving to Chefs Club, Bohlinger started the Aspen Cocktail Club. This weekly event takes place on Thursday nights, and it’s in collaboration with Jimmy Yeagar of Jimmy’s and Joshua Peter Smith of Justice Snow’s Restaurant + Bar. All three bars invite Aspen locals and visitors alike to enjoy featured cocktails: Every week they'll each make two different creations, based off a certain qualification (i.e. gin-based or a mezcal-citrus concoction).
“Aspen is activity-oriented, so I thought that having a cocktail night would be a great way to promote that within the community,” Bohlinger says. “We’ve gotten lot of great responses. It’s a local scene right now, but as the season changes, I think that will change, too.”
The new program is a learning experience for both the attendees and the men behind the drinks. In addition to pleasing patrons' taste buds, it's also a way for the bartenders involved to be creative and expand their knowledge. “The qualifications vary each time, but they will start getting more and more difficult. It might end up that the base is a South American grain spirit, or that each ingredient has to start with a certain letter,” Bohlinger says. "It's a fun challenge for us."
Next time you’re in Aspen, stop by Chefs Club, Jimmy’s, or Justice Snow’s at 6 p.m. Sip the club creations before moving on to the next stop. Hit up all three bars (Aspen is so small, you can walk from one to the next), compare the different cocktails, and determine a winner.
—Image courtesy of Anthony Bohlinger