In Denver, the art of mixology, craft brewing and winemaking let bartenders, brewers and vintners flex their creative muscles. And giving their concoctions innovative names seems to be just part of the process. While there are a lot to choose from, here are some of the most intriguing drink names in Denver.
‘Corpse Reviver’ at Linger
Corpse Revivers are nothing new on classics-inspired cocktail menus (it’s actually a category of drinks from the late 1800s designed to treat hangovers, in a hair-of-the-dog sort of way). But having this gin-and-ginger drink on the menu at Linger is especially apt, given the restaurant’s history as the former site of a mortuary. Look closely and you’ll notice that their giant neon sign still reads Olinger Mortuaries, with the “O” unlit to emphasize “linger.” Despite its grim past, this is one of Denver’s hottest hangouts for top cuisine, cocktails and views.
‘Becky with the Good Pear’ at Green Russell
This butter-infused Wild Turkey, spiced-pear liqueur, brown butter and orange bitter mixture might conjure images of Beyoncé hanging out in this underground speakeasy-esque joint on Larimer Square, revealing the dirt on the woman named Becky in her famous song. In reality, Green Russell changes their highly inventive cocktail menu constantly, so it’s unlikely you’ll see Becky here again, but it is guaranteed you’ll find something new (and cleverly named) to love.
‘Methuselah’ at Tatarian
There’s a distinct tree theme at Tatarian, a bar in the Berkley district that gets its very business name from a type of maple tree that was planted in the neighborhood in its early history. Each of the cocktails on the menu has a connection to a tree, which you can read about in their beautifully produced, coffee table-worthy cocktail menu. Inside you’ll find a tribute to Methuselah, a bristlecone pine that is 4,850 years old, believed to be the oldest tree in the world. The cocktail version is a fusion of vodka, Contratto Aperitif, grapefruit and elderflower liqueurs, and orange bitters.
‘You Can Pickle That’ at the Way Back
Any drink that references the show “Portlandia” tends to capture hearts. The Way Back combines rye bourbon, aquavit, fresh cucumbers and pickle brine to get a delicious salty-tartness you’d expect from the name. And the vibe at the Tennyson Street fave is laid back yet hip, with greenery-adorned lighting, cozy booths warm woods and an eye-catching bar at its heart.
‘God Is Dead’ at American Bonded
With cocktails named from phrases pulled from the quotes of famous philosophers and saints, American Bonded has a menu you’ll want to explore all evening. The Nietzsche-inspired “God is Dead” features an assertive blend of bourbon, artichoke liquor, Maraschino liqueur, Angostura and orange bitters. They are also known for their old-fashioned mint juleps, best paired with burgers, fries, fried chicken — and views from the rooftop.
Beer & Wine
‘Princess Yum Yum’ at Denver Beer Co.
If you’re looking for something light and fruity, swallow your pride, put on a sheepish grin and order up the Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch. You’ll be delighted you did. It’s a traditional Kolsch fermented with fresh raspberries, and it’s only 4.8 percent alcohol, so you can linger over more than one of these on Denver Beer Co.’s sunny patio, with extra-long picnic tables, umbrellas and strings of lights.
‘Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza’ at Call to Arms Brewing
We don’t know what these oft-misheard lyrics to Elton John’s hit “Tiny Dancer” have to do with Call to Arms Brewing’s Dry-Hopped Saison, but we know this brew has definitely got us singing. A fresh, citrusy profile makes for easy drinking in this casual bar that has the feel of a welcoming English Pub.
‘Hold Steady’ at Ratio Beerworks
Founded by punk musicians-turned-brewers, Ratio Beerworks is just one of the coolest places to hang out in Denver, with live music, art shows and a retro ambiance. The Hold Steady might make you think of a good rock song, and the dark, roasty flavor of this chocolate rye Scotch ale supports that hard-hitting image. There's also the Dear You French Saison, a popular brew that’s on the lighter side.
‘The Blind Watchmaker Red’ at The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery
Denver’s The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery’s name comes from the idea that, given an infinite amount of time, a monkey randomly hitting keys on a typewriter will eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare. And with their Blind Watchmaker Red, the River North Art District (RiNo) winery keeps your noggin spinning with reference to another hypothesis: one that posits evolution by natural design is evidence of a universe without design or designer (or “watchmaker,” in the analogy). This is clearly a wine experience that makes you think, but once you get out of your head, your taste buds will be blown away by the robust, fruity blend of barbera, cabernet franc and syrah/shiraz in the Blind Watchmaker Red.
‘It’d Be a Lot Cooler If It Was Green’ at Novel Strand Brewing Company
This reference to a quote from the 1993 stoner classic “Dazed and Confused” makes total sense given the skunkiness of this hoppy, piney ale. Sip it inside the bright, airy, no-frills Novel Strand taproom in a beautiful brick building. They share a space with Queen City Collective Coffee, so if your drinking mate prefers coffee, you’re all set. Plus, there’s a steady rotation of food trucks on site.
Ratio Beerworks pictured above.