Have you ever dreamed of overnighting atop 6,000 feet of ice, within one of the world’s biggest glacier fields, under the shadow of North America’s tallest peaks? Of course you have. Situated near the summit of Alaska’s Denali National Park, Sheldon Chalet affords all of this, along with gourmet food and drink and a front row seat to the Northern Lights for good measure.
The only downside is that you have to buy out the entire five-room property for a minimum of three nights, and arrange a private helicopter to take you to the middle of Denali, a 6.1 million-acre expanse some 85 miles from the North Pole. All told, you could be looking at a $100,000 weekend.
If that’s the sort of disposable income you’re working with, I say, in no uncertain terms: Go for it. (And, please, take me with you.) But, if you want a slightly more accessible taste of Alaskan luxury, find it in drink form. Ryan Sheldon, the “experience director” for the family-owned lodge, recently crafted a signature cocktail that is already a hit with well-heeled guests.
“It’s called Termination Dust because it mimics the first snow we get on the peaks every fall,” he says. “Termination dust is the term we use to refer to the end of summer, the first layer of snow lingering on our peaks. The drink has a thin white foam layer at the top, poured over the rocks, which symbolize our sky-grazing mountains. The dust slowly trickles down and mingles with the base ingredients.”
The drink riffs on the classic Espresso Martini, with rhubarb bitters thrown in as a nod to local agriculture. Despite the caffeine, Sheldon actually suggests it as a nightcap. “Pair it with the last course of a meal,” he says. “Preferably a white chocolate–inspired creation.”
Either way, it’s as chill and invigorating as an Alaska autumn evening. Aurora Borealis sold separately.
The Termination Dust Cocktail Recipe
• ¾ oz creme de cacao
• 1½ oz vodka
• 1 shot espresso
• 2 dashes rhubarb bitters
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
2. Pour into a mug over two small ice cubes. Serve.
This drink was created by Ryan Sheldon, the experience director of Sheldon Chalet.