Nashville, Tennessee might not be the first place you think of when it comes to après-ski, but the lack of snow and proximity to big mountains doesn't prevent Embers Ski Lodge, a winter sports-inspired bar and restaurant, from paying homage to the ritual of mountain happy hour. Even if you are familiar with mountain happy hours, a pineapple juice-based cocktail with homemade matcha syrup might not be an obvious choice. But Embers Ski Lodge draws its inspiration from lodges out in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains where, according to Zak Klapperich, the bar lead at Embers, "It's actually pretty common for west coast ski lodges to fill their menus with tropical items as they are inspired by the Pacific islands and certain Asian cultures."
When you think about it though, a tropical-inspired drink is kind of the perfect beverage for a ski lodge, even one located below the Mason-Dixon Line. "The idea originally was to make something fresh and tropical but not super sweet for a nice summer morning drink," explained Klapperich, that'll wake you up and prep you for a day on the slopes—or just a leisurely brunch.
Enter the Tropics on Ice, a spiked, fizzy, and fruity drink that's become a bar favorite, made with pineapple juice and a unique matcha syrup. "The matcha syrup we make was an experiment gone right," said Klapperich. "Teas are often introduced in cocktails for their ability to flavor a drink without dominating it, and matcha in particular is really growing in popularity so we gave it a try. It has a subtle earthy flavor and a cool color which equally translates well into cocktails." Especially those that are meant to be enjoyed on the slopes of a mountain, when you want something to warm you up a little bit.
So kick off your ski boots—or flip-flops, as the case may be—and pour yourself this tropical inspired, après-ski-friendly beverage for brunch. You'll feel ready to hit the slopes or the sand or whatever else might come your way, guaranteed.
Tropics on Ice with Matcha Syrup
- Yields: 1 drink
For the matcha syrup
For the cocktail
Make the matcha syrup. Heat up water in a saucepan.
Dissolve white sugar into hot water. Add matcha, and stir well.
Once all the ingredients are fully dissolved, pour syrup separate container, and let cool.
Make the cocktail. Add vodka, pineapple juice, and matcha syrup to a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain over ice into a Collins glass.
Add a splash of cranberry juice.
Top off the glass with soda water.
Garnish with a slice of dried pineapple.