It can get cold up in the Alps. Very, very, teeth-chatteringly, foot-stompingly cold. And, though you may be bundled up in layer upon layer of tactical thermals and faux fur, sometimes the only thing that’ll bring a whisper of warmth back into those dry, chapped lips is a good stiff drink.
Thankfully, the snowy slopes of Switzerland, France and Austria also have their fair share of signature serves; cocktails and creations charged with comforting spirits and strange local liqueurs. And the best place to find one of these warming nips or nightcaps? A grand hotel bar. Below, we ski from Badrutt’s Palace to Suvretta House in search of these institutions’ most classic cocktails…
From Badrutt’s Palace, the ‘St. Moritzino with Cointreau’
Where’s it from? That frosty bastion of alpine excess; Badrutt’s Palace. Sitting pretty in St. Moritz, it’s the place that Gunter Sachs called his spiritual home, and where Alfred Hitchock plotted his wildest, chilliest capers.
What’s in it? The ‘St. Moritzino with Cointreau’ is a twist on the Martini, mixed with vodka, Cointreau and lemon juice. But this signature drink of the hotel’s ‘Renaissance Bar’ gets its unique kick from a barley-almond dash of Orgeat syrup.
Why should you try it? Because it’s relatable, reliable — but just different enough to transport you to the snowy slopes of Switzerland. A little like Badrutt’s other signature serve; the ‘St. Moritz Mule’, which spices up another classic with a glug of alcoholic tea-based beverage, ‘Schwunk’.
From Palace Gstaad, the ‘Penthouse’ Cocktail
Where’s it from? The Palace Hotel in Gstaad, which has been welcoming legends of high society since 1913. And, with its fairytale spire and dusting of snow, it’s no wonder the famed hotel has been a magnet for superstars and celebrities for over a century.
What’s in it? Mixed in a shaker and served in a Martini glass, the ‘Penthouse’ combines Havana Club Añejo 7 rum, Bols Cacao Brown, Kalhua and a generous scoop of crème fraîche — and is finished with a delicate grating of chocolate.
Why should you try it? Because it’s a relatively recent invention; mixed into being by bar manager Mario Guzzetti back in 2009. But, while the jet-set may have missed out on the creamy creation, we’re sure they’re approve.
From the Kulm Hotel, the ‘Kulmino’ Cocktail
Where’s it from? It’s back to St. Moritz for our third signature drink. Kulm Hotel is just a five-minute walk from the famous SMBB funicular — and is a haven for gourmets. And, in addition to seven restaurants, the institution also boasts four bars.
What’s in it? The ‘Kulmino’ is a champagne cocktail. Fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries blend with creme de cassis and sugar for a fruity base, before crisp Moët & Chandon is swirled in for a sparkling finish.
Why should you try it? First devised and decanted in Kulm Hotel’s iconic Altitude Bar in 2007, this is the ideal bridge between afternoon and evening; a fresh, slightly tart twist on the classic refined fizz cocktail.
From Suvretta House, the ‘Gentleman’s Secret’
Where’s it from? Another snowy St. Moritz bolthole, Suvretta House is home to this innovative cocktail. And, sitting at 1,850 metres above sea level, every punchy, gin-forward sip of it will have a warming, welcoming effect on your après-ski experience.
What’s in it? Apple juice, mint and lime give this cocktail a fresh, herbal base — before a generous measure of Survetta House’s very own ‘Gentleman’s Gin’ is added; a lemon-forward spin on the spirit created expressly for the property.
Why should you try it? Because of that oh-so gentlemanly name. Alternatively, the hotel’s ‘6-o’clocker’ cocktail takes its name from the large one-handed Suvretta clock in the hotel lobby, which advances from ‘6 to 6’ twice a day.
From the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, the ‘Matterhorn View’
Where’s it from? The five-star slopes of Zermatt, where the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof indeed has unrivalled views of the famous pyramidal peak. Specifically, you can order this cocktail in the hotel’s timelessly European ‘Stars Bar’.
What’s in it? Another spin on a classic champagne cocktail, the ‘Matterhorn View’ mixes Prosecco (Zermatt is under 10 miles from the Italian border) with lemon, rosemary and a specially formulated syrup containing several alpine herbs.
Why should you try it? For the heady, bittersweet influence of that herby syrup. With lavender, gentian, wormwood and a whole host of other rinds, woods, seeds and stems to imbue flavour, it adds a little alpine mystery to every sip.
Want more drinks inspiration? This week’s ‘Cocktail of the Week’ is Jack Savoretti’s ‘Portofino & Tonic’…
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