There’s nothing like a well-made cocktail constructed by a capable, creative mixologist. Over the last year, we’ve had limited access to these local, behind-the-bar craftspeople, but it won’t be long before we’ve all got vaccines, we’re sipping drinks outdoors, and we’re perusing cocktail menus littered with Trump and COVID puns.
Until then, you might want to dip your toes into the cocktail world with some local offerings: one made on-site and available for takeaway, one canned and available at liquor stores, and one you can make at home with the help of a local producer.
Cocktail Squad’s Nitro Whiskey Sour
Launched by a group of Boulderites, including Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman (of the fantastic Boulder Wine Merchant wine, spirits and beer shop), Cocktail Squad makes an elevated canned cocktail. Not saccharine, and with no weird aftertaste (as you find in others), the Squad’s cocktails have gained national esteem, and you should grab a can of your favorite classic mixed drink if you haven’t yet.
Like the Nitro Whiskey Sour. It’s made with bourbon, pressed lemon and orange juice, and gomme syrup. What’s gomme syrup, you ask? It’s a natural alternative to simple syrup, made with gum arabic, a natural resin from the acacia tree.
The vanilla and chocolate notes of the whiskey, combined with the nitrogen, make for a smooth sip, but the powerful kick of citrus juices pique the palate, and the gomme syrup provides the perfect level of the cocktail’s characteristic sweetness. It’s gluten-reduced, and at 10% ABV, you’ll be feeling alright after the two servings that come in each can.
The Bushwacker at Moe’s Original BBQ
If life’s got you down, a cocktail with rum, coffee liqueur, ice cream and chocolate syrup might lift your spirits.
Boulder’s outpost of Moe’s Original BBQ has just that drink, the Bushwacker, a Gulf Coast export that makes for a fine dessert after, say, polishing off a few of the barbecue chain’s ribs.
Served to-go, it’s easy to indulge the guiltiness of this pleasure at home. It’s like a milkshake with a kick.
Barista Spirits’ Irish Coffee
If you want more coffee in your cocktail, grab a bottle of Denver’s Barista Spirit’s Americano Whiskey and make an elevated Irish Coffee at home. Make it on Jan. 25, why don’t you, National Irish Coffee Day.
Start with a cup of dark brown sugar and a cup of water, and boil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Next, make some brown sugar whipped cream — whisk (in a mixer or by hand) a cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup of the cooled brown sugar syrup until it forms stiff peaks. Then, combine 3 ounces of brewed coffee, 2 oz of Barista’s Americano Whiskey and a 1/2 ounce of the brown sugar syrup in a glass and top with the whipped cream.