Written by Chris Benjamin, director of food and beverage at the Essex Resort and Spa.

I’ve never been much of a skier. I know, I know– born-and-bred Vermonter and not a skier? That’s tantamount to being born in California and not being much of a surfer.

For some reason, though, I’ve never seen going down the side of a mountain with two pieces of wood hooked to my feet, dodging trees at high speeds as a good time. Now the base lodge, on the other hand? That’s my idea of fun. Good conversation, a warm fireplace, plenty of friends, and of course, plenty to drink.

So I sit here wondering what kind of drink would appeal to the sophistication of skiers, be seasonally appropriate, and have a good name. Enter my right-hand man, Mark Elwell and his Aspen Mint Martini: Stoli Vanil, creme de menthe, White Godiva liqueur, and Baileys Irish Cream.

If you will remember from previous articles, Baileys is a liqueur that has been distilled and includes additives such as nuts, flowers, fruit, spices, cream, and sugar. These are great flavoring agents, but also are quite delicious on their own as aperitifs or digestifs. Baileys has been around for a long time and is a great mixer for cocktails, including martinis and coffee additives.

One of the primary ingredients in Baileys is Irish whiskey (which comes from the Celtic word usquebaugh meaning “water of life”). And what better place to make whiskey than Ireland; the oldest surviving distillery license was granted by King James I in 1608 to a distillery in there. Another marked characteristic of Ireland is its farms. Baileys relies on more than 1,500 hundred farms (and their 40,000 cows) to produce its cream. The cows are fed on four different strains of grass and are outside grazing more than nine months of the year. Through a clever process of homogenizing alcohol, Irish whiskey and cream, the products are emulsified along with some vegetable oil (to prevent separation). Baileys then adds cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, sugar and caramel to get the finished product.

This week I’ve included two recipes for you: the Aspen Mint Martini along with Water’s Homemade Baileys Irish Cream, which comes from my friend Erin Waters. It’s a pretty good recipe to make ‘your own’ Baileys. Be aware, though, that it will separate after awhile– so I recommend you only make what you’re going to use in a sitting. Both are tasty, both will warm you up after the slopes, and both are easy to make.

So, calling all ski bums! Please enjoy.

The Aspen Mint Martini
1 ½ oz. Stoli Vanil vodka
1 ½ oz. Baileys Irish Cream
¾ oz. crème de menthe
¾ oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
Hershey’s syrup

Combine vodka, Baileys, crème de menthe, and Godiva in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Take a chilled cocktail glass and slowly turn while drizzling in Hershey’s syrup (creating a pattern). Strain Aspen Mint Martini into the cocktail glass. Serve garnished with chocolate shavings.

Water’s Homemade Baileys Irish Cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half & half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. Hershey’s syrup
1 ½ tsp. instant coffee
1 ½ -2 cups Jameson Irish Whiskey (based on your tastes)

Combine ingredients in a blender until incorporated. Refrigerate and enjoy.