Farm-to-bar cocktails to sip this summer.
In the summertime, local restaurants rely heavily on nearby farms and organic foragers to source their produce and keep their menus stocked with the season’s freshest ingredients. It was only a matter of time before the farm-to-table concept made its way to the bar, too. Tapping farmers, beekeepers and gardeners, mixologists are finding inspiration from the wild fruits, flowers and herbs found in Colorado to give their cocktails a local and timely twist. The booze is often local as well, sourced from distillers right here in the Valley. To kick off the sunny season, we’ve rounded up the best libations in the area, all celebrating the Rocky Mountain’s bountiful harvest. Drink up.
1 | Tempranillo’s Lavender Mojito: Laura Maine of Basalt’s Tempranillo heads to her herb garden behind the restaurant to pluck fresh mint and lavender to muddle with Crested Butte-based Montanya Platino white rum, lime juice and house-made simple syrup. The result is a floral take on the traditional mojito, ideal for lingering on the restaurant’s spacious patio. tempranillorestaurant.com
2 | Element 47’s The Apiary: Head to The Little Nell for this herbal citrus medley, made with wild sage harvested from Downvalley’s Mushroom Rock and honey sourced from bees at Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings farm. It’s shaken with Woody Creek Distillers Gin and fresh lemon juice and then served up with a dash of lavender bitters and an edible flower picked from the Nell’s on-site garden. thelittlenell.com
3 | Ellina’s Tulum Bloom: Ellina owner Jill Carnevale invented this fruity take on a spicy margarita by cooking down strawberries (plucked from family run Abundant Life Organic Farm in Hotchkiss) with black pepper and sugar for several hours. The berry reduction is then strained, shaken with lime juice and tequila, and poured over ice. More pepper is cracked on top, and it’s finished with a lime and strawberry wedge. Jalapeño who? ellinaaspen.com
4 | Betula’s Bubbling Bonito: Made with an array of refreshing ingredients, including watermelon liquor, lemon juice and house-made cucumber syrup, the Bubbling Bonito is topped with a generous pour of Crémant sparkling wine. Capped off with chilled scoops of Paonia watermelon, slices of cucumber and a branch of local basil, this drink pairs well with the view of Aspen Mountain from Betula’s deck. betulaaspen.com
5 | Brass Anvil’s Delta Dawn: Everything is peachy keen with Brass Anvil’s take on an old-fashioned, fusing small-batch bourbon with Ela Farms’ peach preserve and Big B’s brandied cherries, both from Hotchkiss. It’s then garnished with a twisted orange rind and more cherries for good measure. brassanvilcarbondale.com
6 | Bear Den’s Sweet Like Anna: Bear Den abandons the copper mug for their twist on a Moscow mule, muddling local strawberries with Woody Creek Distillers Vodka (made with Colorado potatoes and mountain spring water), house-made ginger syrup and a splash of ginger beer. It’s then shaken and strained into a coupe glass with a sugared rim. beardenaspen.com
7 | Jimmy’s Kayla’s Bees Knees: Light and herbal, Jimmy’s lavender gin cocktail is shaken with Woody Creek Distillers Gin (infused with handpicked juniper berries and wild celery), honey from High Mountain Apiaries in Paonia, lavender bitters and lemon juice. Sprigs of dried lavender from Lamborn Mountain Farmstead in the North Fork Valley float on top. One sip, and you’ll feel like you’re frolicking in a field of wildflowers. jimmysaspen.com