Have a sip of Colorado with these signature cocktails
While it is just so easy to drink the views of this stunningly beautiful state, it is also easy to sip the incredible array of cocktails, as you make your way through the Rocky Mountains from one spectacular place to another.
Established for its experimental craft beer scene, the same pioneering spirit of Colorado’s celebrated brewers has paved the way for a new wave of creative libation. Flavours and ingredients reflect Colorado’s outdoor environment – using peach flavours inspired by Palisade Peaches grown in the northwest, après style from the ski slopes and botanicals as a nod to the mountains, forests and meadows. Colorado’s distilleries, bar owners and cocktail connoisseurs have united to bring us their signature tipples to try at home (responsibly) while we’re unable to travel.
‘Knuck If You Buck’ from McLain Hedges – Drink Director at Morin; Owner of The Proper Pour, Denver
1.5oz Manzanilla Sherry
0.5oz Calvados (or gin works great too)
0.5oz Lemon Juice
3oz Ginger Beer
6 dashes Angostura Bitters (or Absinthe if you want to want to take it up a level)
How to make it: If you have a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients to the tin minus ginger beer. Give a good shake — depending on the quality of ice — and strain into a highball or your favourite glass that can hold some ice. Add ginger beer and fill with ice. If you don’t have a shaker, just grab a glass and add all ingredients with ice, mix. Serving suggestion mint, lemon peel, more bitters.
Background story: Denver creative cocktail expert, McLain Hedges, has recreated one of his favourites to survive lockdown. “A classic from the RiNo Yacht Club days and one I love to knock back if I want something that feels like a fancy cocktail but in actuality is just a spruced up mule of sorts. It’s easy to make and even easier to drink. This low ABV drink has depth, spice, bubbly lift and is the party you’ll be looking for once you’re holed up waiting on things to calm down out in the world.” Find his creations in Denver once we’re able to travel again at French restaurant, Morin, and check out local drinks to bring back with you from his wine and bottle shop, The Proper Pour.
‘Peachy Keen’ from Old Elk, Fort Collins
1.5oz Blended Bourbon
Peach Black Tea
Fresh mint, to garnish
Peach slice, to garnish
How to make it: Pour the bourbon over ice and top with cooled Peach Black Tea. Mix together and top with fresh mint and a slice of peach.
Background story: Colorado is known for its Palisade Peach Festival and this is a cool, refreshing, tall drink that can be sampled at Fort Collins’ Old Elk with the distillery’s own Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon, and peach black tea inspired by the festival. Fort Collins is known as the ‘Craft Beer Capital’ of Colorado, proudly being home to internationally-recognised craft beer brands, New Belgium and Odells Brewing Co, as well as a trail of independent breweries each with their own flair. It’s also a hip university town bustling with live music venues and independent distilleries and tap rooms that is on the doorstep to adventure.
‘The Flatliner’ from Allred’s, Telluride
1.5oz vanilla vodka
1.5oz chilled espresso
How to make it: Combine all liquids in a cocktail shaker to ensure an even mix and pour into a Martini-style glass. Optional serving suggestion: top with 3-4 coffee beans in the style of an Espresso Martini.
Background story: Local Telluride bartender, Steve ‘Foster’ Foster, created the Flatliner during his time at the legendary Allred’s Restaurant, located at the top of the gondola. It became so popular with locals and visitors that bars and restaurants throughout the town have started to serve it based on customer demand. Those heading to Telluride are usually seeking an adrenaline-fuelled adventure – The Flatliner has taken the title of the town’s cult cocktail with its ability of being able to keep you going for hours!
‘Genever Juice’ from Breckenridge Distillery
0.5oz premium gin (Breckenridge Gin used by distillery)
0.5oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.75oz rosemary simple syrup*
Slice lemon (for garnish)
Sprig rosemary (for garnish)
*Rosemary simple syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar, 5 sprigs of rosemary. Simmer until dissolved and steep for 15 minutes.
How to make it: Shake and strain ingredients over ice into a Collins glass, then garnish with a lemon and sprig of rosemary, enjoy!
Background story: Founded in 2008, the Breckenridge Distillery is one of the World’s Highest Distilleries, resting at 9,600 feet in elevation in the bustling ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Most widely known for its blended bourbon whiskey, the award-winning distillery produces a range of spirits and in 2019 was named the Colorado Distillery of the Year from the New York International Spirits Competition. The distillery offers visitors a full experience with tours, spirit tastings, a restaurant and bar with signature craft cocktails and a tasting room located in downtown Breckenridge.
‘San Luis Valley Sunset’ from The Bar at Almagre, Colorado Springs
1.75oz rye whiskey
1 egg white
How to make it: First, build your cocktail in a shaker tin then shake without ice, next shake with ice and double strain into a highball glass, then garnish with a lemon peel.
Background story: The Bar at Almagre combines craft cocktails and regional food bowls, focusing on local ingredients. This cocktail pays homage to the strikingly colourful sunsets of the San Luis Valley, located southwest of Colorado Springs. The mystic valley is a spiritual land offering a sense of peach amid epic 100-mile views and sand dunes surrounded by soaring mountain peaks.
‘The Downhill Snapper’ from St. Regis, Aspen
4.5oz / 130ml tomato juice
4.5oz / 130ml V8 juice
0.5oz lime juice
0.5oz Bloody Mary seasoning (if available)
0.5oz Worcestershire Sauce
1tbsp kosher salt
Few dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 branches dill
1 branch basil
1 x 750ml bottle vodka
2 olives on a skewer
1 lime wedge
Extra salt for glass rim
How to make it: Infuse vodka by placing 2 branches of dill and 1 branch of basil in a 750 ml bottle of premium vodka. Close the bottle and infuse heat-free for 2-3 days.
Combine ingredients for The St. Regis Aspen Resort Signature Downhill Snapper Bloody Mary mix. Refrigerate overnight, 6-8 hours minimum. Salt rim of a tall Collins glass and fill with ice. Pour 1.5oz of infused vodka followed by 11oz of the Downhill Snapper mix over the ice. Garnish.
Background story: The Downhill Snapper – a twist on the Bloody Mary – draws inspiration from the change of seasons in the Colorado Rockies. The subtle coolness of dill evokes the winter; basil and the refreshing citrus are redolent of bright summer days. Inviting flavours lend a distinctively fresh garden-to-glass taste to this signature cocktail.