Après Sips

Après-Ski Whistler Style

Story by Nikki Bayley | Images by Joern Rohde

Après-ski — undoubtedly one of the most celebrated traditions following a day skiing, riding, or adventuring in the mountains. Whistler has a reputation for being one of the best resorts in North America in which to partake, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re one of the many who come back year after year to your mountain home away from home. You're in for a treat if you’re new to Whistler-style après — no need to stop off at your hotel to get changed. In Whistler, après-ski is super chill, with ski or snowboard boots, thermals and casual clothing all positively encouraged everywhere, from five-star hotel lounges to funky locals’ bars. Après draws a neat line between the end of your day on the hill and the start of your night’s adventures… get ready for some memorably delicious experiences!

Après Sips

As the last lifts unload for the day, the slopes may fall silent, but Whistler comes alive with laughter, music and clinking glasses as skiers and boarders gather to celebrate another epic day on the mountains. Welcome to the world of après in Whistler, where it’s not just about conquering slopes but also about telling those stories over frosty glasses and well-crafted cocktails. Whichever part of Whistler you find yourself in at the end of the day, we’ve got some of the best places for you to snuggle up by the fire as the light fades and perhaps fresh snow falls, dance to live music in your ski boots and experience the fabulous tradition of Whistler après with these wintry sipping essentials.

Beverage Manager Jamie Cornwell
604-905-4844 | quattrorestaurants.com
Monza Martini

I’m talking après with Quattro’s Jamie Cornwell, who has some big feelings about après. “It’s the heartbeat of the town,” he enthuses. “Après drives people into our restaurants; there’s live music, smiling faces, excitement, everyone is talking about those amazing memories they made that day on the hill; there’s something magical about après here in Whistler.” He's not wrong; when friends and family gather after a fun day in the mountains, and magic is in the air, there’s no better drink to help keep the flame alight than an espresso martini. “Italians drink with purpose,” declares Cornwell, “and that’s our whole philosophy at Quattro. A digestivo is drunk for digestion and energy, and whether it’s after dinner or après-ski, the espresso martini fits the bill nicely.”

The Quattro twist on the classic espresso martini cocktail leans into complex Amaro with flavours of cacao, coffee, and orange peel, balanced beautifully with freshly brewed espresso, house-made salted caramel syrup, chocolate bitters and a surprise ingredient — tiny, crunchy salted caramel balls. “This was a secret ingredient from our pastry chef. Originally, I wanted them to float on top, but they sit, hidden, under the foam and stay crisp and biscuity for a textured surprise!”

Bar Manager Jessica Gray
604-932-3433 | bearfootbistro.com
Why The Fig Not

Bearfoot Bistro Bar Manager Jessica Gray leans in and whispers conspiratorially, “I’m one of those Whistler ‘secret summer’ people; I don’t really ski or board,” she says. “But my son is up there all the time, and he loves hot chocolate and fondue, so I get to enjoy après with all the perks and none of the work!” One of those perks is après at the Bearfoot (“we’ve been known to get a little rambunctious and lively here!”), which is already (in)famous for its champagne and oysters. This season, Gray’s delicious creation looks set to pull the crowds in, too.

Fragrant with baking spice notes and richly comforting like a deliciously fancy box of chocolates, inspiration for this silky-smooth sipper came from a desire to whip up a booze-forward cocktail to pair perfectly with an après cheese board. “I don’t especially like hot drinks, so I wanted a spirited warmer,” says Gray. “It’s a Manhattan-style drink: Maker’s Mark 46 bourbon, Ampersand Nocino walnut liqueur, walnut bitters, a house-made fig syrup, and Aztec chocolate bitters. The nuttiness and sweetness combine with a boozy hit that works beautifully with our international cheese selection served with seeded crostini, maple pecans and house-made fruit preserves.”

General Manager Chantel Taylor
604-905-2171 | dustyswhistler.com
Dusty’s Legendary Caesar

“Après Creekside? We’re another breed!” Dusty’s general manager, Chantel Taylor, says with a laugh. “There’s a community feel here for sure, with lots of locals, but Creekside is so welcoming you’re instantly part of the community when you get here.” Famed throughout Whistler for its lively après sessions with house band the Hairfarmers; if you like dancing in the afternoon after a fun day on the hill, head over to Dusty’s. “When they play, it’s our favourite day of the week,” says Taylor. “The room is packed, and the vibe’s so energetic it rocks the building!”

Fuelling that vibe is the Dusty’s Legendary Caesar — an all-Canadian twist on a Bloody Mary. Here, you can choose from a menu of five different kinds containing their super-secret house-made spice mix (“we’ve perfected it over the years; it’s a hot sauce with a whole whack of things in there!”). The Legendary Caesar packs a pleasingly punchy, spicy-tomato-y hit, but meat lovers should try the Pit Master Caesar with Bulleit bourbon, a beefy steak spice rim and chewy Two Rivers jerky treats. Pair with the wildly addictive, piled-high puffy wedges with “butt rub mayo,” or if you have a few hungry friends in tow, their award-winning nachos overflowing with toppings are the way to go, followed by a spin around the dance floor to whatever the Hairfarmers are playing! Now, you feel like a Whistler local.

Restaurant General Manager and
Resort Sommelier Nick Humphreys

604-938-8000 | fairmont.com/whistler
Whiteout Cosmo

Long-time Whistler visitors may remember this chilled, cloudy beauty that’s back after a much-missed absence from the Mallard’s winter cocktail menu. Nick Humphreys, general manager and resort sommelier, explains: “This drink was first on the menu about a decade ago, but Absolut stopped making their pear vodka, and we couldn’t find anything that worked as well, so it came off, but everyone used to ask about it because it was such a Whistler classic. Recently, Absolut reintroduced a pear-elderflower vodka, so the Whiteout Cosmo is back!”

Simple, beautifully cloudy, and utterly delicious, this cocktail is made with that all-essential pear-elderflower vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup, white cranberry juice, and garnished with frozen scarlet cranberries. “That pear note at the end adds in such a wintry, comforting flavour,” Humphreys says with a smile. “It’s the perfect thing to have after a day on the hill, gathered around our roaring wood fire. We get so many big parties of guests here to enjoy the live music every day — and humongous plates of our famous nachos!” And true to Whistler form, it may be the Chateau, but it’s still casual: ski boots are encouraged! Walk on over to Fairmont Chateau Whistler and raise a glass to the Whiteout.

Lead Bartender Alex Gregory 
604-966-5700 | nitalakelodge.com
Apple Pie

“After a full-on day on the mountain, you want hearty, heavy food, and you need boozy warming drinks,” advises the Cure Lounge’s lead bartender, Alex Gregory. “I love après here at Nita Lake, and it’s super casual; guests from the hotel are in their robes, and everyone else is in ski boots and ski gear piling into wings and burgers. Even when I worked elsewhere, we’d always come here for wine and a charcuterie board on our days off; it’s a great atmosphere,” Gregory says.

Raise a glass at the “chateau of the south” and enjoy the view looking out to the frozen lake as you sip on the Apple Pie, a classic winter cocktail with cinnamon and apples spiked with Appleton Estate rum to give that kick to keep you warm. Blending the vibes of a tropical tiki drink with the comfort of an indulgent slice of apple pie, this cool cocktail comes blanketed in whipped cream, sweetened with apple juice and house-made cinnamon syrup. And that deliciously complex vanilla/orange blossom note? A subtle flavour hit from Licor 43, one of Spain’s most popular digestifs.