Two terms not often found in the same sentence: Fancy and [R120R, Crested Butte]. The isolated Colorado resort is more known for its laid-back appeal and incredibly difficult terrain. Somehow the three-year-old Dogwood Cocktail Cabin successfully mixes the finer things in life with the rustic nature of the central Rockies resort. 

Or, maybe the town’s visitors and residents just need a cocktail that badly after staring down the Banana Funnel all day or navigating narrow, rocky entry points into Third Bowl.

Dogwood Story

The Dogwood combines a rustic cabin feel with urban drinks and dining. Photo Courtesy of Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.

The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin is a mishmash of honest western appeal you’d expect in quaint Crested Butte and chic boozy flavors normally reserved for cities like San Francisco, Portland and New York.

Owners Douglas and Phoebe Pedersen bought the cabin intent on turning it into a first-of-its-kind upscale drink destination. Problem was, it was literally falling down (and was known to be quite the party house back in its heyday), meaning they had to spend more than eight months renovating it. This included lifting the house and building a foundation, along with just about every upgrade and fix imaginable. It opened in July 2008.

Dogwood Story

You are just as likely to find patrons wearing designer fabrics at the Dogwood as you are to find them wearing work boots and jeans. Photo Courtesy of Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.

“It was intense. We did most of that ourselves,” Pheobe said. “Getting things done in a small community is always difficult, but the whole process endeared us to the community. It’s been a labor of love.”

Now it has all of the comfort of a cozy cabin on the inside but with a cocktail scene and sex appeal that draws the most sophisticated crowd in town. That’s not to say Carhartts and ski pants aren’t acceptable attire. It’s Crested Butte, after all, and anything goes.

Dogwood Story

Mixologist Phoebe Pedersen is a mad scientist behind the bar at the Dogwood. Photo Courtesy of Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.

“The girls like it because they can get a little snazzy and not stand out,” Pheobe said. 

Douglas came from an entertainment and music background. Pheobe spent many days behind the bar in various Portland abodes, slinging cocktails in what is possibly the most creative mixology city in the U.S. 

“A lot of the drink menu is from culinary inspiration,” Pheobe said. “These are flavors that I love that harmonize best, and I just make it into cocktails.” 

Three to Try:

Winter Squash ($10)

Vodka infused with roasted butternut squash serves as the main backdrop of this light, clean cocktail. All that’s added is a little simple syrup and lime, with a sage leaf, and dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon on top.

Romeo y Julieta ($12)

Talk about an oddball infusion. The Cabin fuses rum and pipe tobacco to mix with mint hibiscus syrup and soda water. Be warned, non-smokers will experience a tobacco buzz, on top of the boozy buzz.

Sarsaparilla ($12)

Root is a liqueur that combines several earthy ingredients to create a flavor profile similar to Root Beer. It’s not easy to mix, but when the flavors balance in a cocktail like they do in this hot beverage, life is good. Black tea, berries and Courvoisier cognac are the ingredients that sing in melody with Root.

Dogwood Story

The Dogwood offers many creative cocktails that aren't even featured on the menu. Photo Courtesy of Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.

Make One at Home:

The Christmas Spirit

Since many of the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin’s drinks require planning due to infusions (or some muscle power for muddling), Owner and Cocktail Maven Pheobe Pedersen picked out a celebratory-style Champagne drink that’s easy to make and is perfect for holiday parties. The Christmas Spirit is an off-menu drink at Dogwood. 

Ingredients: 

½ once Root liqueur

1 once pomegranate juice

Heavy splash of lemon or lime juice (fresh squeezed preferred)

Champagne

Lime wedges or dark berries, for garnish 

Directions: 

Shake the first three ingredients (never shake the Champagne since it’ll flatten the bubbles), pour the two ounce mix over six ounces of Champagne. The mix can be made in advance and served in a punch bowl for a party. 

Jacob Harkins is a recovering ski bum and founder of Local Winos magazine.