Holiday season

9 local cocktails to try at local distilleries and restaurants

Cocktail trends are often heralds or heralds, indicating the signs of the times.

Over the past twenty years, there’s been a renaissance in cocktails – it’s elegant to sip an Old-Fashioned or an impeccably crafted Sazerac – even though these vintage classics date back to 1806 and 1850 respectively.

Channeling the culinary revolution that has sharpened our focus and whetted our appetite for fresh, locally sourced ingredients, today’s cocktail ingredients combine the fragile nostalgia of simpler times with the pleasure of tasting finely crafted liquors in bars. nicely dressed and retro style speakeasy.

477 Distilling’s Gingerbread is a frothy concoction combining their award-winning gin and Chai Spirit with ginger cinnamon and clove simple syrups. (Photo courtesy of 477 Distillation)

And then, a few years ago came edible glitter.

Alluring in a brassy, ​​in-your-face-look-at-me way, cocktails (and beer, cakes, bagels, and pizzas) have become adorned with sprinkles, pearls, and pearls, which you can eat. Strawberries coated with pink chocolate flakes in champagne, anyone?

The interesting thing is this: when A&E Spotlight asked local bartenders, distilleries and restaurants to show us what they were shaking for the holidays, 2021 style, there was no glitz to be found. And you know how hard it is to get rid of glitter.

The cocktail parties organized to help celebrate the end of this year align with cozy comfort and the classics. Look for many variations of Old-Fashioned and many adult versions of milk-and-cookies.

Perhaps after 21 months of this pandemic, sips that last longer are the most warm and welcoming.


Distilleries have their own master mixologists for in-house sipping, but you can also buy their artisan products to shake and garnish those cocktails at home.

477 Distillation, 825 9th St. Unit B, Greeley

General Manager Brie Rodriguez’s (and most of the 477 employees’) favorite cocktail is the Gin-Gerbread. The combination of 477 Distilling’s Double Gold winning gin and Chai Spirit, homemade ginger cinnamon and clove simple syrups, and dashes of Fee Brothers molasses bitters give this creamy cocktail strong notes cinnamon, spices and a hint of rooibus tea from Free Leaf. That creamy froth comes from shaking it with a dollop of egg white powder, Rodriguez said.

  • 2 ounces of Chai spirit
  • 1 ounce of gin
  • ½ oz ginger syrup
  • ½ oz cinnamon and clove syrup
  • 2 dashes of molasses
  • 1 tablespoon powdered egg white
  • Garnish: Cinnamon

Glass: Cut, no ice cubes

Shake and strain twice

Coyote’s Southwestern Grill, Blue Agave Grill, and Palomino Mexican Restaurant blend Old Fashioned Jalisco style for the Yuletide season. The warm flavors of Maestro Dobel Añejo tequila and Tuaca brandy merge with cinnamon-nutmeg infused cranberry simple syrup for a sweet, festive twist. (Photo courtesy of Blue Agave Grill)

Spirit Hound Distillers, 4196 Ute Highway, Lyon

The botanical complexity of gin may seem more appropriate for a summery gin and tonic, but in London the vapors coming from the Thames make sipping gin trendy all year round. Spirit Hound shares a recipe for their London Fog gin-inspired cocktail created by their resident mixologist, Amanda Englehorn. The barrel-finished gin made from freshly picked juniper berries on the banks of the Saint-Vrain River spends six months in new charred American white oak barrels. The result is a “beautiful interplay of spice and oak,” says Spirit Hound. Simple syrups of tart cherry and Earl Gray make this cocktail a winter classic.

  • 1-1/2 oz finished gin on tap from Spirit Hound Distillers
  • 1/2 oz simple tart cherry syrup
  • 3/4 oz Earl Gray simple syrup
  • 2 ounces oat milk

Simple Tart Cherry Syrup: Roughly chop 4.25 oz unsweetened dried tart cherries and steep with a bottle of vodka for a week. Strain cherries and make syrup with 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup hot, cooled water. Mix 1 cup of syrup and 1 cup of cherry infusion.

Earl Gray Simple Syrup: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 4 Earl Gray tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in 2 cups sugar until dissolved. Coldness.

To make London Fog: Add gin, tart cherry syrup and Earl Gray syrup to shaker with ice and shake. Pour contents into an Old Fashioned glass, leaving room for the oat milk. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon, rubbing around the rim of the glass.

he Mistletoe Martini from Greeley Chophouse celebrates the season with a light twist on the classic cranberry martini. Blue agave syrup and a fizzy touch of ginger ale make this a pleasant tickle of the palate. (Photo courtesy of The Greeley Chophouse)

Syntax Distillery and Cocktail Bar, 700 6th Street, Greeley

It’s “a pie in a glass,” said Heather Bean, Still Mistress at Syntax. “Rich, creamy, and holiday flavored,” Syntax’s cute and cuddly P-spice Martini incorporates elements of Pumpkin Spice, Simple Syrup, and Syntax Heavy Rum. The distillery’s newest spirit starts with 100% American black cane molasses blended with Rocky Mountain white water, then fermented to extract its sweet malty caramel taste. Aging in whiskey casks with a kiss of molasses adds a luxurious mouthfeel. Syntax’s skilled bartenders spruce up the martini with miniature gingerbread men that are so cute, it’s guaranteed to hit the p-spot.

  • 2 glasses of milk
  • 1 dose of simple syrup
  • 1 glass of Syntax Heavy rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Shake with ice for 30 seconds, strain into a martini glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Rich, creamy and flavorful for the holidays, Syntax Distillery and Cocktail Bar’s P-spice martini is pie in a glass, said Heather Bean, Still Mistress at Syntax. (Photo courtesy of Syntax Distillery and Cocktail Bar)


For service in style, these area restaurants deliver cocktails to your table with a festive smile.

Coyotes’ Southwestern Grill, 5250 West 9th Street Drive, Greeley, Blue Agave Grill, (locations in Fort Collins, Longmont, Denver) Palomino Mexican Restaurant, (Greeley-Evans, Loveland)

The company-wide Yuletide Jalisco Old Fashioned, conceptualized by Ian Bearss at the Fort Collins Blue Agave Grill, is a Yuletide-inspired Jalisco Old Fashioned style. The warm flavors of Maestro Dobel Añejo tequila, Italian Tuaca brandy, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract and Hellfire bitters merge with cinnamon and cinnamon-infused cranberry simple syrup. nutmeg for a sweet festive touch. A garnish of fresh rosemary sprigs melts the nose with an earthy aroma that ignites the senses with notes of vanilla, spice, orange essence and cranberry.

Greeley Chophouse, 804 8th Street, Greeley

The Greeley Chophouse came up with the Mistletoe Martini to celebrate the holidays this year. This light twist on holiday chic offers familiar seasonal flavors without the holiday heaviness. Perfectly balanced Kettle One vodka, cranberry juice and blue agave syrup are shaken, chilled and topped with a splash of ginger ale. Light and slightly fruity, the martini is a pleasant palate tickler to welcome the end of the year celebrations.

There is always room for romance during the holidays! Shake it up with Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar’s Love Potion #9, a blend of Dutch Chocolate Vodka, Frangelico, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and a dollop of whipped cream. (Photo courtesy of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar)

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, (Fort Collins, Boulder, LoDo, Glendale, Colorado Springs locations)

Oysters have a reputation for being aphrodisiacs, and while that’s probably myth and legend (thanks, Casanova), there’s always room for holiday romance. Jax shakes love potion #9 – Van Gogh Naturally Infused Chocolate Dutch Vodka, Frangelico, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and a dollop of whipped cream. The liquids are shaken and strained into a martini glass lined with strips of strawberry purée. Topped with chocolate shavings, this sweet sip is perfect for warming up with your honey for the holidays.

Kenny’s Steak House, 3502 West 10th Street, Greeley

Created by one of Kenny’s Steak House manager/bartenders ironically named “Nick”, Kenny’s owner Matt Larson noted that while the restaurant’s signature cocktail is exactly what Kris Kringle hopes you’ll let him sip at fireside after a long night’s work. , they don’t know if the bartender Nick is considered a Saint. Even so, their Sugar Cookie Martini, shaken with vanilla vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, amaretto, milk and a sprinkle of powdered sugar is the cat’s meow. With sweet notes of chocolate, vanilla, a hint of nuts, and rimmed with red and green sprinkles, this nostalgic martini combines childhood holiday cheer with grown-up taste.

The Kress Cinema & Lounge, 817 8th Avenue, Greeley and Speakeasy (shh, don’t tell anyone)

The Kress offers two versions of its homemade eggnog, made in-house, each year. Upstairs, the lounge version is concocted with bourbon and spiced rum. Downstairs in the speakeasy (enter through the Kress doors, walk down and flip the switch until someone lets you in), the nog is made with amontillado sherry and anejo tequila. Served in a vintage eggnog mug and topped with freshly grated nutmeg, it’s a holiday staple, at least once in the season.

There are two versions of homemade eggnog to choose from at the Kress Cinema & Lounge this season. Sip it with bourbon and spiced rum upstairs in the lounge, or amontillado sherry and ańejo tequila downstairs in the Speakeasy. (Photo courtesy of Kress Cinema & Lounge)

Windsor Mill Tavern, 301 Main St, Unit C, Windsor

Stirring up something warm and wonderful as the weather finally cools, Windsor Mill Tavern’s Sweater Weather cocktail riffs on a traditional grog.

J. Seeds Apple Cider Whiskey, Whiskeysmith Salted Caramel Whiskey, Fresh Lemon, and Hot Apple Cider combine with classic holiday and winter flavors to warm you up. Inspired to create a cozy feeling, what could be more comfortable than a sweater in winter?

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