Get into the holiday swing of things with winter cocktails and brews, available by request at some of Denver’s best restaurants. Many use locally made ingredients from Colorado’s burgeoning artisanal liquor scene, which was recently profiled in The New York Times.
The 12-21-10 – Green Russell
This speakeasy-style establishment’s bracing holiday cocktail is named for the first day of winter mixing Smith & Cross Navy Proof and Oronoco rums with Bowmore Scotch/allspice, dram/black pepper syrup and apricot.
Apple and Spice – Vesta Dipping Grill
A spicy/sweet mashup that will warm up a winter night in no time, Vesta’s Apple and Spice features house made cranberry puree, ginger root, Hendricks gin, and apple schnapps. Shaken, not stirred!
The Blitzen – Peaks Lounge/Hyatt Regency Denver
The night before Christmas is best enjoyed at Peaks Lounge with the view of snowcapped mountains and a delicious cocktail in hand, aptly named after one of Santa’s reindeer. The Blitzen includes ½ oz Crème de coco, peppermint schnapps, vodka and cream – and is garnished with a candy cane.
Candy Cane Cooler – EDGE Restaurant/Four Seasons Denver
Sweet! The Four Seasons’ mixologists combine mint-infused vodka, B&B liqueur and half-and-half with a tablespoon of crushed candy cane. The result is holiday-licious. (Yes, we just made up that word.)
Christmas Ale – Breckenridge Brewery
The chill of a Colorado high-country winter calls for a beer with extra flavor and warming characteristics. At more than 7 percent alcohol, with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, this holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a good fire.
Figgy’s Manhattan – Steuben’s
Steuben’s specializes in comfort food – so consider this a comfort cocktail. Fig-infused Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur, poured over ice – and then garnished with a candied lemon twist.
Hibernation Ale – Great Divide Brewing Co.
This Denver-brewed beer has been a celebrated winter tradition since 1995. A robust, dry-hopped ale, the Hibernation has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.
Naughty Santa – Rioja
Find your inner bad Santa with this devilishly good cocktail, made with Denver-made Leopold’s cranberry and apple liqueurs, Absolut grapefruit vodka and topped off with a sugared rim and a sprig of mint.
Santa’s Go-Go Juice – Bistro Vendome
Sometimes Santa needs a little boost, too – and this cocktail is just the ticket. Combine 2 oz Dark Myers Rum and 1¼ oz Tuaca (a vanilla/citrus liqueur) in a coffee mug, fill the rest with water and top with a teaspoon of compound butter (butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar).
St. Ger-Mint Julip – Parallel 17
Made with Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, mint-infused St. Germain and simple syrup, plus a dash of soda water, this drink is as pretty as it is tasty. It’s even topped with an edible flower!
Yule Grog – Elway’s Cherry Creek
Hot apple cider with a twist! Heat up a mug and combine Appleton Estate V/X Jamaican Rum, Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur, hot apple cider and a squeeze of lemon. Add a cinnamon stick and you’re on your way to a very happy holiday.
Drink responsibly! Delicious holiday mocktails – non-alcoholic cocktails – are also available from any of the venues listed above. If you are planning to partake in holiday spirits, be sure to utilize Denver’s public transportation, call a taxi or designate a driver for the night. You must be at least 21 to drink alcoholic beverages.