I recently experienced, hands down, one of the most epic speakeasy bars in Aspen Colorado. Her name is Bad Harriet.

A few steps away from hotel Jerome, the entrance is deceiving. From an outside perspective, a beautiful woman dressed in silk sitting behind a large, refurbished desk. The desk is bare. No computer, paperwork or phone. A door person is standing to the side of the window looking at pedestrians passing by. As you walk in, checkered tile floors and a silent ambiance are what you see. No sign of libations or noise. The woman at the desk greets you, somehow already knowing your name. Holding an iPad and without much conversation, she leads you down a narrow staircase to the side. As you walk down the dark, narrow tunnel, you start to see glimmers of soft amber lights, black and emerald green velvet. Your ears quickly pick up the sound of ABBA, “Dancing Queen.”  The room opens to glistening mirrors, velvet chairs and gold accents. In the distance, a kaleidoscope of colors shines behind the black antique bar top holding a variety of liquors I have no knowledge of. My curiosity sets in.

We are seated at booths whose backs tower over our heads – an intimate setting – and given a menu with a metallic font. We quickly notice this is not going to be an easy decision. We are presented with an array of options; spiced exotic rums, rare gins and the best of the best bourbons. I am in heaven!

I can’t go with my usual and certainly can’t risk ordering something too sweet.

I choose the Jump Seat, created by Jim Meehan. This cocktail may have Grey Goose, but that’s not what caught my eye. The Cocchi Americano is what grabbed my curiosity. This is not a coffee. It’s even better! An Italian aperitif wine best known for its strong botanicals and woody aromas, a perfect addition to a dry spirit.

Following this charming, fortified wine is italicus rosolio di bergamotto, a liqueur made from rose petals; finishing off this new-aged martini with a hint of rosewater and lemon peel.

As soon as I get back from Aspen, I have to make this after-dinner pick me up myself. I don’t have all the exact ingredients and the measurements are a bit tricky to get right. I manage to find a recipe with a few more local ingredients than the three listed on the menu. Also known as a completely different cocktail, but with the same punch and aromas.

The Aviation

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon crème de violette

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker; fill with ice, and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry. For the Biplane Version of The Aviation, include crème de violette. For Jet-Age version, leave it out.