A good tasting drink tends to help with the bite that colder weather brings to Colorado.
Fort Collins has a thriving food and drink culture filled with people who like to push the boundaries and end up creating flavors that encompass feeling, in this case the feeling of Christmas.
Here is a guide to just some of the drinks FoCo has to offer to keep you warm:
Where: The Crooked Cup.
Serving coffee by Cafe Richesse, a local Fort Collins Roastery, the Crooked Cup offers drinks suitable for anyone, coffee lover or not. Specialty lattes, teas, smoothies and hot chocolate can be enjoyed in the comfortable brick building location on West Oak street.
What: Christmas in a Cup.
Enjoy gingerbread chai poured over a peppermint tea bag and steamed with milk. Barista and CSU business administration student Webb Kimmel thinks cinnamon and peppermint encompass the flavor of Christmas pretty well, but there are many more combinations out there.
“I’m pretty traditional in terms of coffee flavors,” Kimmel said. “If I were to make a drink, it would probably include classic flavors, but I would also want to try to and get the flavor of a Christmas tree, something piney, maybe.”
Where: Alleycat Café
This 24-hour café is a classic spot in Fort Collins for a variety of drinks and baked goods in a colorful setting. Whether you come in at 2 in the morning or in the afternoon, you will always get a cozy and warm vibe in this café which is necessary on those frigid December days.
What: Apple Cider.
You can’t go wrong with classic apple cider. Refreshing and sweet in its own way, this hot beverage is a safe bet if you are not a fan of coffee or chocolate, which usually dominate winter drinks.
Where: Ku Cha House of Tea
With walls lined with teas and trinkets, this local Fort Collins business can up your drink game with over 150 specially made teas imported from China, Japan and India. The knowledgeable staff will take time to show you option for your best tea experience.
What: Organic Winter Chai.
Tea is a staple in staying warm, and this chai does it best with its spicy cayenne flavor and hint of chocolate, ginger, rosemary and cardamom.
For those who want it a little boozy, here are some options to lift your holiday spirit:
Where: Elliot’s Martini Bar. Known to be “Fort Collins first craft cocktail bar,” Elliot’s puts new menu items into the hands of talented bartenders, where brainstorming and creativity is highly encouraged. On their extensive menu, you’ll find unique concoctions with fresh and high quality ingredients. If something doesn’t suit you, a few answers about your taste preference helps the bartenders create something custom.
“It’s a very democratic process of getting drinks on the menu,” said bartender Matthew Argeroplos. “We try to make drinks based on various flavor profiles. What’s always popular doesn’t always agree with your taste buds, so we can create a drink as festive as you would like.”
What: Banana Nut Bread Desertini.
Features crème de banana, Frangelico, Godiva white chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla bean syrup, nutmeg and cream. Tastes like what grandma bakes, only it gets you tipsy.
Where: CopperMuse Distillery. With beer being the forefront of Fort Collins culture, CopperMuse wants to add hand crafted spirits into the works. This distillery offers 40 plus cocktails featuring house distilled rum, flavored liqueurs and infused vodkas.
CopperMuse’s head bartender Lauren Mihalko has been developing their winter drink menu and explains that collaboration with other bartenders to make unique pairings are what makes her job so fun.
“I like big expressive flavors in cocktails,” Mihalko said. “The concept of sensory and flavor pairing and thinking of seasonally appropriate flavors is the best part of my job.”
What: The Pearsnickety.
Rosemary and clove vodka, simple syrup and organic pear juice make up this tasty martini. It is easy to make at home, or good to enjoy in the art deco themed tasting room of Coppermuse Distillery.
Where: Social. As one of Fort Collin’s few underground bars, Social provides a unique drinking experience with classic libations and new experimental drinks made by friendly and passionate people. The chic décor and lighting makes for a more chill evening in Old Town.
What: The Stone Wall.
If you want to sip on a classic, this cocktail dates all the way back to 1765. Comprised of aged rum, apple cider, ginger beer and a dash of bitters, this cocktail gives you a taste of cold weather, without the usual creamy and sweet flavors.
With the inevitable snowfall to come our way, Fort Collins businesses have the drinks to help you through finals week and into winter break.
Collegian reporter Sarah Ehrlich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @sarahehrlich96.