These hot boozy drinks will chase away the chills
Old Man Winter sending shivers down your spine? Fret not: Denver bartenders are here to warm your spirits.
From hot toddies to mulled wines, these 11 uniquely local drinks are served warm and are worthy substitutes for that frosty pint of beer.
Rock & Rye Toddy at Steuben’s Uptown, 523 E. 17th Ave., Denver (303830-1001) and Steuben’s Arvada, 7355 Ralston Road (303-830-0096), steubens.com/ | $9
Not like you need an excuse to imbibe, but traditionally rock & rye cocktails were known to be a cureall for sore throats. The herbal tea with a soothing boozy kick gets a brilliant addition at Steuben’s: rock candy. Over the course of a week, the candy is infused into liqueur, along with other ingredients, and then strained out. The end result is an herbal horehound tincture that’s made with lemon peel, cinnamon, clove and the sweet candy.
Vegan Hot Buttered Rum at The Nickel, 1100 14th St., Denver (720-889-2128), thenickeldenver.com/| $12
After seeing a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, sidle up to the fireplace at The Nickel for a wintery nightcap. At the bistro inside Hotel Teatro, it’d be tempting to get a flight of warm drinks. The cocktail menu includes a fortified cider crafted with house-spiced pear liqueur and a boozy hot chocolate made with rotating flavors like s’mores-infused whiskey or spiced Mexican chocolate. But one cocktail that’s especially noteworthy: a hot buttered rum that even vegans can enjoy. It’s made with coconut oil as op-
posed to butter, which gives it a smooth texture, explains Joshua Ford, the food and beverage operations manager at Hotel Teatro and The Nickel. The drink is spiked with Plantation Barbados Rum, and rounded out with a maple syrup and house-made spiced cherry bark bitters.
A Hot Night in Breckenridge at Elway’s downtown, 1881 Curtis St., Denver (303-312-3107), elways.com/downtown | $14
Bartenders at Elway’s downtown develop their own signature drinks to contribute to the seasonal cocktail menu. Bartender Danny Rodriguez dreamed one up with bourbon and apple cider in mind. “My idea for a ‘Hot Night in Breckenridge’ comes from trying hot apple cider for the first time a few years ago when I moved to Colorado from Florida,” he said. “Around that time, I was also introduced to Breckenridge bourbon. Immediately, I saw the potential for a winter cocktail.” Adding Tuaca lends some citrus and vanilla notes to the cocktail, which is then topped with whipped cream and garnished with a cinnamon stick.
Acorn Toddy at Acorn, 3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver (720-5423721), denveracorn.com/ | $11
“The toddy is a pretty straightforward cocktail already, we just dress it up our way,” said Chris Clewell, beverage manager at Acorn, a modern restaurant housed in an 1880’s-era brick foundry building in the arty River North (RiNo) neighborhood. Acorn’s rendition includes Breckenridge bourbon and yellow chartreuse, which bolsters the cocktail with herbal notes. Clewell describes it as a hot whiskey sour, but elevated with hints of herbs and ginger and finished with grated nutmeg.
Kings of New England at Beatrice & Woodsley, 38 S. Broadway, Denver (303-777-3505), beatriceandwoodsley.com/ | $9
Step into this South Broadway restaurant and it feels like you’ve been whisked away to a majestic forest. Reclaimed Aspen trees decorate the interior. And the lighting? It’s almost like the soft and warm, yellow-tinted Nashville filter on Instagram came to life. The brunch menu that’s available on Saturday and Sunday includes the Kings of New England, which is served warm with rye whiskey, apple pie shrub, cinnamon and lemon. The restaurant’s Apple Pie Pancakes, with caramel drizzle, are an obvious pairing.
Hot Apple Sidecar, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1747 Wynkoop St., Denver (303-446-2337), hopdoddy.com/ | $8
Toast this toasty drink! Hopdoddy mulls its own apple cider every day to craft this sidecar’s base, and the mulling spices create an aroma of clove, citrus, cinnamon and apple in the restaurant. The warm and smoky sipper made with Grand Marnier is served with an apple slice and shattered cinnamon stick.
Jam Juice at FIRE Lounge at The ART Hotel, 1201 Broadway, Denver (303-572-8000), thearthotel.com/denver-restaurants/ fire-fine-dining.html | $12
FIRE has a few warm cocktails on its seasonal menu, including the Smashing Pumpkin made with an all-spice infused bourbon, pumpkin puree, maple and whipped cream or the Bee’s Knees, a blend of Old Forester, Colorado honey, lemon and mint. But Kyle Wollenhaupt, mixologist at FIRE, has a favorite on this year’s menu: Jam Juice, which blends syrah and Grand Marnier with warm flavors. “It’s inspired by classic mulled wine recipes,” he said. “The syrah is a lighter varietal and complements the orange, vanilla, cinnamon and clove elements of the drink very nicely.”
Hot Apple Toddy at Dunbar Kitchen & Taphouse, 2844 Welton St., Denver (720-630-7641), dunbarkitchenandtaphouse.com/ | $9
Beginning on Jan. 1, this neighborhood bar will actually have a “hot toddy bar” with chooseyour-own spices and housemade syrups. Until then, you’re in the capable hands of the eatery’s bartenders, who are stirring up Hot Apple Toddies with apple brandy, allspice-flavored liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a cinnamon simple syrup that’s made in-house.
Irish Coffee, Mercantile Dining & Provision, 1701 Wynkoop St., No. 155, Denver (720-460-3733), mercantiledenver.com/ | $14
First order of business: Take in the sights of the grandiose Christmas tree (show-off !) that’s set up in Union Station. The redeveloped train station is just bustling with holiday cheer this time of year. Then, drop in at Mercantile Dining & Provision for some elevated comfort food and a one-of-a-kind Irish Coffee. It’s made with local Commonwealth Coffee and Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey. The pièce de résistance: a house-made Irish cream. The after-dinner drink is served on a small bamboo tray so guests can mix in accouterments like chocolate pearls. “It’s a really fun, deconstructed approach to a classic coffee cocktail, which allows the guest a sort of ‘choose your own adventure’ approach,” said Nick Lowe, the bar director.
Glühwein at Rhein Haus, 1415 Market St., Denver (303-8002652), rheinhausdenver.com/ | $5
Translated, Glühwein means “glow wine,” a nod to the hot irons that were used to make the mulled wine that was then served at Christkindl markets throughout Germany and Austria. At Rhein Haus, this coldweather drink is made with red wine, Asbach German brandy, lemon and orange peels, fresh orange juice, sugar and mulling spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise. Ryan Minch, Rhein Haus’ bar manager, suggests pairing a warm glass of Glühwein with the Schweinshaxe, a crispy braised pork shank served with spätzle, corn, tomato, green onion, topped with a pickled apricot mustard and a side of pork jus. “The spice, sweetness and acidity of the cocktail complements the richer aspects of the braised pork,” he said. Rhein Haus is brewing its specialty Glühwein until Jan. 1. Winter Spiced Wine at Peaks Lounge in The Hyatt Denver, 650 15th St., Denver, (303-436-1234), denver.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/PeaksLounge.html| $11
Head up to the 27th floor for a panoramic view of the Mile High City. Once there, you’ll get a great light show with sights that span from the historic clock tower that’s illuminated to the red and green glow at Union Station. A MVP on the seasonal drink menu is the Russian Reindeer, made with Tito’s Vodka and Oskar Blues ginger beer, with fresh lime and cranberry. If you’re looking to warm up, though, go for the Winter Spiced Wine, a blend of warm reds and holiday spices.
Bonus recipe: The bartenders at Borealis Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center & Hotel, 13200 E. 14th Place in Aurora, shared their best recipe for keeping guests warm during the winter. Here’s how to make the Mint Snuggler: ¾ ounce Peppermint Schnapps ¾ ounce of Kahlua ½ ounce Bailey’s Hot cocoa In an Irish coffee mug, combine the Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlua and Bailey’s. Fill the remainder with hot cocoa and stir. Garnish with whipped cream and crushed peppermint.
Barbados rum makes for a delicious Vegan Hot Buttered Rum at The Nickel inside the Hotel Teatro. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
A merry and warm Hot Apple Sidecar is a featured hot drink for the holiday season at Hopdoddy Burger Bar in LoDo. The drink is made with house-made mulled apple cider and Grand Marnier, with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. Photos by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
Mercantile Dining & Provision Irish Coffee is made with housemade Irish cream. Provided by Mercantile Dining & Provision
No German Christmas is complete without Glühwein, a hot, spiced mulled wine at Rhein Haus.
The Hot Night in Breckenridge from Elway’s in the RitzCarlton. Provided by the Ritz-Carlton
The Jam Juice at FIRE inside the ART Hotel.