Ben Moss wins People’s Choice award for best mixologist at Top Shelf Harvest Festival

Caramie Schnell
Ben Moss makes a 10th Mountain Sidecar at the inaugural Top Shelf Harvest Festival held in Lionshead Saturday.
John-Ryan Lockman / Show Love Media | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — As David Embury tells it in his 1948 book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” the sidecar cocktail — traditionally a combination of cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice — was born in a Parisian bistro circa World War 1.

Recently, bourbon sidecars are more common. That’s how Ben Moss, a bartender at La Tour in Vail, prefers them. Moss competed in Saturday’s Top Shelf Harvest Festival in Lionshead and won the People’s Choice award for his 10th Mountain Sidecar, made with 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company’s bourbon, which he promises to be “very good” bourbon indeed. The event had a speakeasy theme, which inspired Moss’ take on the drink.

“A sidecar is a classic 1920s drink and I love bourbon,” Moss said regarding why he chose to make a bourbon sidecar. Three local bartenders competed in a mixology contest. Contest judges crowned Ana Vogen’s (of Elway’s Vail and Lancelot Restaurant) September Sunset — a twist on the classic gin fizz — the winner, but event attendees favored the sidecar.

The bartenders got to pick their liquor but got a box of surprise ingredients to work with.

“I used almost all the ingredients, except I didn’t use the Cholula,” Moss said. “Though I did use the bottle to muddle the ingredients. The final drink turned out tasty.”

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If he had to do it over again with whatever ingredients he’d like, Moss would have added a little bitters to the drink, and a small splash of simple syrup, he said.

10th Mountain Sidecar

Winner of the People’s Choice award at the Top Shelf Harvest Festival

Courtesy of Ben Moss, of La Tour Restaurant, Vail


2 ounces 10th Mountain Bourbon

3 wedges lemon

1 wedge orange

2 raspberries

1/2 ounce apple cider

1/2 ounce lemon soda water (can substitute club soda)

Small pinch of thyme and micro planed cinnamon

Orange and lemon twist for garnish

Directions: Muddle lemon, orange, raspberry, cider, splash of soda and thyme together. Add bourbon, then, without ice, gently shake in shaker because of carbonation. Pour over ice, garnish with pinch of thyme and cinnamon and a twist of lemon and/or orange.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at or 970-748-2984. Follow her on Twitter @caramieschnell.

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