You Need To Try This is a running archive of all the awesome drinks and dishes we’ve come across over the course of our professional and private lives (or at least the ones we had the presence of mind and patience to photograph before they got in our bellies).
Have you ever spent a day in Whistler and wanted a quality drink but not stepped foot in the village? On a recent trip up the Sea-to-Sky we did just that (though, for the record, we did venture into the village the very next day to find plenty of craft beer and sherry).
In the cozy confines of the Nita Lake Lodge sits the newly renovated Cure Lounge and Patio, and Aura Restaurant. The lounge is right on Nita Lake with some pretty epic views of the snow capped mountains beyond. In the summer the patio appears to cascade right down to the lake. It’s a great place to relax after a day on the hill, or for an aperitif before dinner. During après the place is packed with hotel guests and, surprisingly, many locals; the $10 barrel-aged Boulevardiers may have something to do with that!
Head Bartender Rhiannon Csordas has put together a very whimsical and innovative bar program for the lounge and the restaurant. The cocktail list is based on fairytales and divided into four sections, each taking inspiration from a different story. (They hired a local artist to help craft the look of menus and do the chalkboard above the bar.)
I went straight to “The Stroke of Midnight” section and was taken by the Golden Carriage, which sees rye whiskey, B&B, Angostura bitters, and coffee bean-infused Antica Formula vermouth. It tasted even better than it read, and it being my first choice says a lot. The dehydrated fig that was perched half in the glass not only looked great, but also gave it gave a nice contrast to the bitter and sweet finish. Using a very rich and luscious vermouth like Carpano Antica can easily overpower all the other components of a cocktail, but here the addition of the coffee beans added a punch of bitterness as well a nice kick of espresso.
Another drink to try is the Poison Apple – a mix of Maker’s Mark, Fort Berens Late Harvest Riesling, Giffard Abircot du Rousillon, barrel-aged bitters, and a cinnamon rim. The blend of late harvest wine and apricot liqueur made it a delicious, lip-smacking sipper. Rhiannon is as big wine nerd as she is a cocktail lover, and she very evidently knows how to combine her interests.
Rhiannon has been at the Lodge for four years now after coming over from The Mix by Rick’s in the village. In the warmer months she takes advantage of the kitchen’s rooftop garden, making all the syrups in house. She and her team are barrel-aging cocktails as we speak, and are even running a drink on the list with smoked ice. The craft beer selection reads well with local breweries like Backcountry, A Frame, and Howe Sound all being featured.
If you ever have the pleasure of staying at the Lodge, the rooms are some of the cosiest in Whistler. It’s located in Creekside about a ten minute drive from town, and there’s a courtesy shuttle available on the half hour. Bonus Tip: One no longer has to sneak drinks up to the room anymore; the old move is now legal in BC. Wow, who would’ve thought?!