Up in the mountains, we’re not afraid of cool temps. Rather we embrace the weather and find fun ways to get cozy. One of our favorite (and most effective) strategies for heating things up? Drinking something hot and delicious. Sounds like a no-brainer, but we’re not just talking about run-of-the-mill coffee, tea and hot toddy. Estes business owners are a creative bunch and serve up inventive concoctions to match. And as always, in our community, the focus is on the artisanal and local-made.   

Here, we round up five of the yummiest local-centric, steamy sippers around.

1. The Matcha Latte at Moon Kat’s Café: This kitty-themed afternoon tea and weekend brunch spot has limited hours, but it’s worth coordinating your schedule to try one of its frothy matcha lattes. Hand-whisked and blended with just the right balance of milk and sweet vanilla, this tea is down-right addictive. Try it hot now, and then over ice in the summer months.

2. Elkins Distilling Co.’s off-the-menu hot chocolate: You have to know to ask for it, but once you do, you won’t regret it. Blended with the house-infused fig whisky, it’s the most inventive take on hot cocoa we’ve tasted. Plus, all of Elkins’ whisky is distilled in-house using organic corn and malted barley from nearby Colorado towns.  

3. Via’s Apple Cider Chai: Next door to Elkins, this café-bike shop hybrid serves up a clever taste on chai tea. The chai is made in-house and then steeped in organic apple cider, instead of water. Pair it with the chocolate-banana bread made by the owner’s wife.

4. The Salted Caramel Coffee at The Rock Inn: Not only is The Rock Inn one of the coziest spots in town, it also has the best selection of hot cocktails. We love the Salted Caramel Coffee made with Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur from Spirit Hound in Lyons, along with caramel, salt and whipped cream.

5. Lavender-Honey Latte at Inkwell & Brew: Sweetened with honey from Colorado’s Ambrosia Honey Co. and balanced with a touch of lavender syrup, Inkwell’s latte is just the right touch of floral, light, creamy, and bright. It’s best served with a book in one of the cozy, light-filled nook’s the coffee and stationery shop has upstairs.