Local distilleries bring home medals from Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival | VailDaily.com

Local distilleries bring home medals from Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

Krista Driscoll
Representatives from Vail's 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co., from left, Erin McShea, Mark McDonnell, Taylor Tower and Ian Pulk, celebrate their Double Gold medal for the 10th Mountain Alpenglow cordial.
Krista Driscoll | kdriscoll@vaildaily.com |

Craft cocktails

A handful of the 35 distilleries that participated in the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival’s Still on the Hill Grand Tasting shared their craft cocktail concoctions. Visit each distillery’s website for more information about products and distribution, and see this story at http://www.vaildaily.com for more recipes and a complete list of medal winners.

808 Distillery

Spiced Pear

1¼ ounces Red Canyon Spiced Rum

1 ounce pear nectar or juice

½ ounce fresh lime juice

Two fresh mint leaves

½ ounce simple syrup of agave

Shake with ice, pour into a glass, and top off with club soda, with a dash of nutmeg on top.

LL Spritzer

Leo’s Limoncello (Gold medal winner)

Club soda or seltzer water

Sprig of mint

Mix to personal taste. Visit http://www.808distill.com.

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co.

Barrel-aged Manhattan

2 ounces 10th Mountain Bourbon (Silver medal winner)

1 ounce Aperol liqueur

1 ounce Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

Age in a 3-liter whiskey barrel for 30 to 45 days, until desired flavor and balance is reached. Visit 10thwhiskey.com.

Breckenridge Distillery

R2TEA2 (for the Star Wars fan)

1½ ounces Breckenridge Vodka

Juice of half of lemon

Teakoe Slopeside seasonal spiced plum tea

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, pour over ice and garnish with frozen green tea and lemon zest.

Winter’s Coming (for the Game of Thrones fan)

1½ ounces Breckenridge Bourbon

2 ounces Psycho Billie sarsaparilla syrup

2 ounces vanilla milk

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, pour over ice and garnish with pecan-maple whipped cream and salted caramel. Visit http://www.breckenridgedistillery.com, or contact Billie Keithley at billie@breckenridgedistillery.com with questions about Psycho Billie shrubs.


Fortify Fizz

1 ounce Spring44 Gin

1 ounce Spring44 Fortify

Top with lemon soda water and fresh lemon zest.

Peaches & Honey

2 ounces Honey Vodka

Splash peach liqueur

6 ounces lemon soda water

Add ingredients to a glass, and gently stir. Pour over ice-filled glass and garnish with a mint leaf and slices of peach and lemon. Visit spring44.com.

Golden Moon Distillery

1 bottle Golden Moon AppleJack

1 bottle Golden Moon Dry Curacao

2 liters Roobios tea (chilled)

1 bottle sparkling apple cider

2 ounces angostura bitters

2 ounces citrus bitters

Oleo-saccharum (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl with ice. Ladle and serve.


4 to 6 lemons (or oranges), peeled, with as little pith left as possible

1 cup sugar

1 cup lemon juice

Muddle the peels with the sugar, and then let sit for 30 minutes. Mix with the lemon juice, and then strain off the peels. Use immediately in punch. Visit http://www.goldenmoondistillery.com.

Squeal Spiced Black Rum

Squeal Peach Colada

1 1/2 ounces Squeal Spiced Black Rum

1/2 ounce peach puree

1/2 ounce coconut milk

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce orange juice

Chill, shake and serve cold. Visit squealrum.com.

-------- Double Gold

• 10th Mountain Alpenglow Cordial, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co.

• Ricardo’s Coffee Liqueur, Spirit Hound Distillers


• Leo’s Limoncello, 808 Distillery

• Grumpy’s Vodka, Anvil Distillery

• Black Canyon Whiskey, Black Canyon Distillery

• 291 Bourbon, Distillery 291

• Downslope Agave, Downslope Distilling

• Dry Gin, Lee Spirits Co.

• Fireside Peach Whiskey, Mile High Spirits

• Peach Street Bourbon, Peach Street Distillers

• Pear Brandy, Peach Street Distillers

• Wheeler’s Gin, Santa Fe Spirits

• Colkegan Single Malt, Santa Fe Spirits

• Spirit Hound Single Malt, Spirit Hound Distillers

• Stranahan’s Single Malt, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

• Woody Creek Colorado Gin, Woody Creek Distillers

• Woody Creek Rye, Woody Creek Distillers


• 10th Mountain Bourbon, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co.

• Red Canyon Rum, 808 Distillery

• Ironface Gin, Anvil Distillery

• Axe & Oak Whiskey, Axe and the Oak Distillery

• CopperMuse Rum, CopperMuse Distillery

• CopperMuse Horseradish Liqueur, CopperMuse Distillery

• The Decc Citrus Liqueur, Distillery 291

• Colorado Sun’shine, HIP Brand Development

• Elevate Vodka, Mile High Spirits

• Jackelope Gin, Peach Street Distillers

• Jackelope Pear Gin, Peach Street Distillers

• Beet Spirit Gold Rum, Rado Distilling

• Wood’s Mountain Hopped Gin, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery

• Wood’s Tenderfoot Whiskey, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery

• Strobawa Vodka, Woody Creek Distillers

it took a while for the news to trickle out from the stage, as each award announced was drowned out by the high-decibel thrum of boisterous craft spirits swillers clamoring for one last sip, one final cocktail. When word finally reached the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. table, brand manager Mark McDonnell and tasting room manager Erin McShea were too busy sating eager fans to really comprehend what had just happened.

For the first time ever, the judges panel of the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival had awarded a pair of Double Gold medals in the Judgment on the Hill industry awards, and one of them had been bestowed upon the Vail distillery for its 10th Mountain Alpenglow sage-infused peach vanilla cordial.

“Honestly, we didn’t even hear what they said; we couldn’t hear what they were talking about,” McDonnell said, adding that they eventually figured out they had won the award. “We were pretty flattered and surprised. It’s a small liquor category, so it gets overlooked a lot. We’re a very small fish in a big ocean, so being recognized in that capacity was obviously really flattering.”

Though 10th Mountain has won eight or nine other medals for its spirits at various events around the country, it was the distillery’s first time traveling to the Breckenridge festival, where it also brought home a silver medal for its bourbon, in addition to its first Double Gold win.

“The cordial has won a few things, but Double Gold makes it our highest-awarded product that we carry,” McDonnell said. “We’re generally brown-water people, but it really shows how much of the industry is looking at alternatives to whiskey.”

Two years, two golds

Eagle’s 808 Distillery also added to its arsenal of medals at Still on the Hill, bringing home a Gold for its Leo’s Limoncello for the second year in a row.

“We were really excited that, No. 1, we did win a Gold again, which means we’re doing something correct if people are liking it,” said Jeff Leonardo, vice president of the distillery. “It shows us that we know that we’re producing something with our own hands and we’re really proud of it.”

808 also garnered a Silver for its Red Canyon Rum, which Leonardo and distillery president Claude Seeman poured at the Grand Tasting alongside the limoncello and the company’s Red Canyon Spiced Rum, which was served in a spiced pair cocktail with pear nectar, fresh lime, agave and mint.

“A lot of people were really surprised with how well the spiced rum went with the pear,” Leonardo said. “A lot of people really, really liked that. It’s a good fall drink. I could see drinking that during Thanksgiving or heating it up as a hot toddy during the wintertime.”

About the awards

Each of the 35 participating distilleries could enter two spirits into a variety of categories for the Judgment on the Hill industry awards, part of the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival, which took place Friday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 25, in Breckenridge.

The spirits were judged in a double-blind taste test by panel of industry experts. The panel bestowed 32 distinctions, including two Double Gold, 15 Gold and 15 Silver medals. The awards were based on the quality of each spirit with regard to taste, smell, integrity and smoothness, and not as a ranking of spirits against one another.

“This format of judging helps raise the quality of the emerging craft spirits industry as a whole because our products are being judged on their intrinsic merit,” said Jordan Via, master distiller at Breckenridge Distillery, who facilitated the judging.

Dates for next year’s event will be announced early in 2016 and will be posted at http://www.breckenridgecraft spiritsfestival.com.

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