7 Must-Try New Spring Cocktails in Denver

A tour of the season's best new sips
April 20, 2016
by Lori Midson

After last week's smash of snow, which dumped four feet in certain parts of the state, we're declaring a moratorium on Mother Nature's wrath and rejoicing in the fact that all signs point to spring. But since there are still patches of white on our grass and gardens, it's fair to say that we're relying on a new batch of seasonal cocktails to coax us out of our winter zone. Here are seven that we're crushing on right now.

It's for a Cop from Euclid Hall

Remember Super Trooper, an old flick about prank-pulling cops in rural Vermont whose favorite word rhymes with "pluck?" Actually, we don't either, but the bar team at Euclid Hall — a comedic bunch with a playful side — remember it well, even naming a cocktail after a one-liner in the movie. And since Euclid is extolled for its excellent beer roster, it's no surprise this happens to be a beer cocktail. What's the potion? Zacapa rum, Aperol, pink peppercorn syrup, lemon, orange bitters and Butcherknife Bavarian hefeweizen served on ice and rimmed with a sugar-and-peppercorn crust. And while it may be pretty, it's also got a pretty big spring in its sip. Don't stumble into a cop. Photo: Lori Midson

1317 14th St.; 303-595-4255

Whiskey Mango Foxtrot from ChoLon

Light enough for the 80-degree temps forecasted for this weekend, boozy enough to rouse you from any lingering winter lethargy and tropical enough to make you want to plan that beach vacation, this revitalizing spring cocktail from the bartenders at ChoLon, made with Tincup whiskey, sweetened condensed milk, St. Germain and pureed mango, is extra frisky thanks to housemade gochujang tapioca pearls that are easily slurped through the oversized straw. Photo: ChoLon

1555 Blake St.; 303-353-5223

Starluxe from Mercantile Dining & Provision

Composed of rum, lime juice, pisco, simple syrup and housemade tonic, Mercantile's Starluxe (named for the retro-futuristic architectural style of the 1950s) is the perfect spring cocktail for sipping on the restaurant's patio – prime real estate for eyeballing the parade of people who descend upon Union Station. The cocktail is terrific on its own, but we love the compressed grapes that float on top and the feather of dill that lends a grassy accent. Photo: Lori Midson

1701 Wynkoop St.; 720-460-3733

Stacey’s Mom from Rioja

A nod to the mother of "Stacey," an employee of Rioja, this season-inspired, beautifully balanced cocktail embraces Stoli Ohranj, Rothman & Winters apricot liqueur and a splash of lemon. It then gets an upgrade with Pernod, which gives the drink a mellow anise flavor and that mysterious cloudiness; the edible flowers add a touch of feminine elegance. Photo: Lori Midson

1431 Larimer St.; 303-820-2588

Making Flippy Floppy from Blackbelly Market

Blackbelly bar manager Ben Foote recently unleashed his spring cocktail menu, naming all nine concoctions after tracks on the Stop Making Sense album from the Talking Heads. And while guys might want to go for the "Girlfriend is Better" (made with bison grass vodka, coconut, lemongrass and lime), fans of tongue twisters will order the "Making Flippy Floppy." And after a few of these numbers, made with Cointreau, the wildly botanical Amaro Montenegro, passion fruit crushed ice, jasmine green tea and lime, we won't have to apologize for our nonsensical gibberish. Photo: Lori Midson

1606 Conestoga St., Boulder; 303-247-1000

Mai Tai from the White Whale Room

With its neon pink paper parasol, pops of color from wheels of citrus and a whimsical Swedish fish to remind us it's nearly time for pool parties, the mai tai at the White Whale Room doesn't just look like spring break — it sips like spring break. There's rum — lots of rum — in the jar, so it's not for a lightweight. But on a lazy, sun-smooched afternoon, it's all a blur anyway — especially if you're hanging out on the patio while the light-rail whizzes by. Photo: Lori Midson

415 S. Cherokee St.; 720-346-3996

Fistful of Dollars from Amethyst Coffee Co.

You know what Colorado weather is like, right? Predictably unpredictable. Snow one second, unrelenting rain showers the next and, wait, what? Oh, look... here comes the sun. Followed by another blast of white flakes. That's precisely what happened last week when we darted inside Amethyst to grab a hot coffee only to realize that owner Elle Taylor's spring cocktail menu was hot off the press. And, really, who can resist a cocktail that's described as "Clint Eastwood discovers Japan?" Hued the color of wild grass, the concoction is a mix of Old Grand-Dad bourbon, orange shichimi-togorashi syrup, jasmine bitters, egg white, citrus juices and matcha — and since spring evenings are still chilly around here, why not cozy up to the fire pit and sing campfire songs? Photo: Lori Midson

spring cocktails