Topher Hartfield

Nocturne

THE CONTESTANT

Topher Hartfield

Hometown:
El Paso, Texas

What is the name of your cocktail?
The Winter Walker

What’s the inspiration behind this garnish?
I was inspired by the serenity of snow falling in the mountains. The way a quiet snow storm falls onto the trees and the feeling of holidays and wintertime combined with the beautiful warmth of sunshine in the Colorado mountains. The way the warm sun hits you during the day in the wintertime and has that wonderful balance of freshness and comfort. The garnish is a combination of evergreen suspended overtop mint and skewered through a dehydrated lime soaked in angostura, all dusted with a dehydrated pineapple powdered sugar. The garnish reminds me of holly and evergreen during the holidays, and the light ringing of the bell when you drink just has a small bit of comfort that reminds me of family. The dusting of the dehydrated pineapple powdered sugar represents the snow falling on the trees, and the freshness of the mint combined with the angostura-soaked lime wheel has the note of holiday spice and warm candles around the house. (It also reminds me of the antler on Max in The Grinch when he is dressed up as a reindeer.)

What’s the inspiration behind this cocktail? 
While spending some time in Winter Park during my career, I used to love the way the air smelled and the way the sun shined during bright winter days. The smell of fireplaces and the warmth that comes from those memories, the sunshine that captured the whole valley, and the serenity of staring off into the horizon just as your about to take a run down the mountain was invigorating and created some beautiful memories. This cocktail is meant to capture that warmth and brightness and invoke new memories with those who enjoy it.

What cocktail trends do you see occurring in Denver?
There is definitely an upswing in tropical cocktails that are not over indulgent with an excess of ingredients. The simplicity of cocktails is coming back and small modifications to classics are turning out some amazing cocktails with many of the new ingredients coming out. Bartenders are working to balance life and work for themselves and the guest, and many are focusing on wonderful non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails. This speaks to the focus of wellness from the industry as a whole for all who enjoy it, and the execution of these are equally as elegant and exciting as the effort put into our other cocktails.

The Winter Walker

Recipe:
In a shaker, combine:

• 1-1/2 ounce Oban 14 Year
• 1 ounce Orgeat
• 1 ounce Acidified Pineapple Juice
• 1 ounce Manzanilla Sherry
• 1 ounce Oat Milk
• 1/2 ounce Egg Whites (or aquafaba)

Reverse shake all ingredients and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with evergreen suspended over a dehydrated lime soaked in bitters, skewed with mint sprig, and all dusted with dehydrated pineapple powdered sugar.  

THE GARNISH