We’re big on bucket lists here, especially when it comes to food, but we wanted to extend that reach into cocktails. The criteria for a bucket list cocktail are are one-of-a-kind, uniquely made or presented, and absolutely delicious. Some of these cocktails include unique ingredients like balsamic, are elevated spins on classics, and topped with upside down popsicles. If that sounds intriguing, then read on to find out 9 of Denver’s most unique cocktails, according to Denverites, and where to get them.
The Old Fashioned was born in New York in the early 1800s bringing in the era of cocktails and becoming a mainstay of classic cocktail menus for years to come. This drink is made with whiskey topped onto sugar muddled with bitters and water and garnished with an orange twist, zest, and a cocktail cherry, but the mixologist over at Officer’s Club have their own spin. One of the best Old Fashioned in the city, their Smoked & Spiced with Rittenhouse Rye, spiced-maple simple syrup, orange bitters, and a cinnamon stick and orange twist for garnish. Did we mention, it’s also smoked table side with cherry wood for an amazing demonstration to go with your drink.
Where: 84 Rampart Way, Denver, CO 80230
photo credit to shawnxcampbell
Union Lodge No. 1 is doing classic cocktails with a modern twist, celebrating the artistry and technique reminiscent pre-Prohibition mixologists’ techniques. Union Lodge has got a great assortment of drinks to choose from, with their Brandy Crusta being no exception. Made with Brandy, Orange Curacao (a liqueur made from the Dutch island, Curaçao), lemon, a beautiful sugar rim, and bitters.
Where: 1543 Champa St, Denver, CO 80202
Denver does tiki right at Adrift, a tropical and fun tiki bar that does amazingly themed cocktails inspired by Polynesian and Caribbean culture. Their Macadamia Nut Chi Chi is a top contender. It’s a frozen drink made with local distillery, Family Jones, vodka, Flor De Caña 7Yr Rum, Arift’s House made Coconut Cream, pineapple juice, and a maraschino liqueur.
Where: 218 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
We’d recommend trying one of their specialty negronis. If you’re in the mood for something truly unique, try their Caprese Negroni, a cocktail that replicates the flavor of a Caprese salad usually made with Mozzarella, Tomato, Balsamic, and Basil. The Caprese Negroni takes those flavors to a new level, creating a Negroni with gin, Campari, and Carpano Antica vermouth made with tomato, basil, and aged balsamic.
Where: 290 S Downing St, Denver, CO 80209
The Electric Cure has got some interesting cocktails and some very interesting cocktail names. The entire menu is nearly themed in Satanic Panic and Tiki, with this one being no exception. The Devils Combover includes Derrumbes mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, which is a spicy liqueur made from Ancho and Poblano chilies from Mexico, Lime, Jalapeño, and Pineapple, so we guarantee this is definitely a spicy option, and that’s not including the fact that it’s also set on fire.
Where: 5350 W 25th Ave, Edgewater, CO 80214
Vesper Lounge is a bustling and busy cocktail lounge where their namesake cocktail, the Vesper Cocktail, is an homage to James Bond, invented by writer Ian Fleming in Casino Royale. The Vesper Cocktail comes with London Dry Gin,
Skyy Vodka & Lillet Blanc Infused with Lemon Peel and Grains of Paradise, an aromatic spice with origins from West Africa.
Where: 233 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Ronin is one of the only venues on the list that isn’t a cocktail bar, but they’ve still got a few cocktails that are unbelievable. Try the Liquid Swords at this incredible and fresh Japanese restaurant for a new take on 2022’s hottest spirit, Mezcal. The Liquid Swords is made with Los Vecinos Mezcal, Green Chartreuse (a French herbal liqueur), Maraschino cherries, Yuzu-infused lime juice, and Japanese Chili Lime Bitters.
Where: 1160 Madison St, Denver, CO 80206
Midcentury-Modern Root Down has got an amazing line up of earthy and funky eats, complete with a fruit-forward cocktail menu to match. Go for their Beet Down cocktail complete with local distillery, Family Jones gin, Aperol, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Beet Shrub, and lemon.
Where: 1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Welton Room is known for putting on a show with their cocktails. An innovative and creative cocktail bar that’s been popularized for its nitrogen-infused cocktails and specialty, holiday drinks, Welton is one that shouldn’t be missed. Their most popular seasonal cocktail is also very visually appealing and calls back to the trend of Dalgona coffee that ran rampant during the start of the pandemic. This cocktail has got vodka, espresso, coffee and orange liqueur, vanilla, almond, orange zest, and a macaron carefully placed in the cloud of whipped coffee.
Where: 2590 Welton St #103, Denver, CO 80205, United States
[featured image by brandon.brightside via Instagram]