Cocktail recipes from the best bars in Colorado, USA

Domestic travel is on the cusp of a resurgence with states across Australia beginning to relax lockdown measures. International travel? That’s a different story.

With many countries around the world struggling in the fight against COVID-19, we’ve been given conflicting information on when international travel will resume to a sense of normalcy anytime soon. Some people say we will be able to carry on with our wanderlust as early as the end of this year, some are saying it won’t be well into next year. The only sure thing right now is our ability to take ourselves to different destinations without physically crossing borders.

One way we’ve been encouraging that at the AU review is by sourcing food and drink recipes so readers can travel with their taste buds, whether that’s in the kitchen or behind a homemade bar. Now, we’re going to be hopping around some of the world’s most vibrant cocktail cultures and pulling a few drink recipes from the best local spots. Get your mixers out, because you’re about to become the best, most well-travelled home bartender there is.

Colorado, USA

Take yourself to Southwest USA, landing in the famously diverse and mountainous state of Colorado. A mainstay for the typical American road trip, Colorado has some of the most exciting locales in the country, whether that’s for lovers of craft beer, arts, dining, live music or just pure escapism. Between watching a concert at Red Rocks and enjoying the great outdoors in Telluride, you’re going to need to sit down and take stock of the best places to grab a cocktail. Luckily, you can preview some of the best drinking holes in the state with the following cocktail recipes.

Peachy Keen” from Old Elk, Fort Collins

Did you know that one America’s most liveable small city’s is located near the top of Colorado? Well, now you do. Fort Collins, with it’s hip college culture, sturdy craft beer scene, deep love of music, and charming Old Town, could easily fill up more than a few days on your quintessential Colorado road trip. Even more so since the quaint city hosts some of the state’s best spots for cocktails. Need proof? Just master this signature from Old Elk distillery and start dreaming of your post-pandemic Colorado trip.

– 1.5oz (44ml) blended bourbon
– Peach black tea
– Fresh mint, to garnish
– Peach slice, to garnish

1. Pour bourbon over ice and top with cooled Peach Black Tea. 2
2. Mix together and top with fresh mint and a slice of peach.

“The Flatliner” from Allred’s, Telluride

Photo: Ryan Bonneau / Visit Telluride

Telluride is one America’s most beautiful locales. I can say that with confidence because I’ve spent a few days in this ludicrously remote and eternally gorgeous part of the world, swinging across its three distinct areas via free gondola and never once taking my eye of the mountain range which cradles this mining town turned premier ski resort. I also popped into the town’s most sought-after restaurant, Allred’s, which is much more than jaw-dropping views and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. In between bison tartare and elk steak, it’s customary to order up Telluride signature cocktail, The Flatliner, here: akin to Australia’s favourite modern classic, the Espresso Martini.

– 1.5oz (44ml) vanilla vodka
– 1.5oz (44ml) Kahlua
– 1.5oz (44ml) Bailey’s
– 1.5oz (44ml) chilled espresso

1. Combine all liquids in a cocktail shaker to ensure an even mix and pour into a Martini-style glass.
2. Optional: top with 3-4 coffee beans in the style of an Espresso Martini.

“Genever Juice” from Breckenridge Distillery

Photo: Becca Howard

Breckenridge Distillery, one of the world’s highest at 9,600 feet elevation, in its namesake ski town is most widely known for its expertly blended bourbon. Coated with awards, they operate a restaurant, bar and tasting room in downtown Breckenridge perfect for soul-stirring apres ski sessions, often landing on signatures like this fresh-forward Genever Juice.

– 0.5oz (15ml) premium gin
– 0.5oz (15ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 0.75oz (22ml) rosemary simple syrup (recipe here
– slice lemon, garnish
– sprig rosemary, garnish

1. Shake and strain ingredients over ice into a Collins glass.
2. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and/or lemon.

“San Luis Valley Sunset” from The Bar at Almagre, Colorado Springs

Located in Colorado Springs, Almagre – named for the 2nd highest peak on the region – is an mixed-use urban venue often reserved for events, but popular most nights thanks to its resident bar. It’s one of the best spots in the world-famous Colorado Springs to grab a stiff drink and pair it up with region-focused food bowls, with many of their ingredients sharing a deep connection to the environment and inspired as such, like this complex and colourful San Luis Valley Sunset.

– 1.75oz (52ml) rye whiskey
– 0.5oz (15ml) Cynar
– 0.5oz (15ml) beetroot
– 1oz (30ml) lemon
– 0.75oz (22ml) honey
– 1 egg white

1. Build your cocktail in a shaker tin then shake without ice. Next, shake with ice and double strain into a highball glass.
2. Garnish with a lemon peel.

“The Downhill Snapper” from St Regis, Aspen

Photo: St Regis Aspen

One of the most luxurious hotels in one of the most luxurious spots in the country is going to have high standards when it comes to cocktails. That’s just a given. Head along to this ritzy hotel in the middle of gorgeous Aspen and park yourself at its signature bar for a more upscale apres ski experience, built with concoctions like “The Downhill Snapper” – a fancy version of the age-old Bloody Mary, mirroring the changing seasons in the great Colorado Rockies.

– 4.5oz (130ml) tomato juice
– 4.5oz (130ml) V8 juice
– 0.5oz (15ml) lime juice
– 0.5oz (15ml) Bloody Mary seasoning (if available)
– 0.25oz (7.5ml) horseradish
– 0.5oz (15ml) Worcestershire sauce
– Few dashes of tabasco sauce
– Rose-infused Vodka
– 1 cornichon, for garnish
– 2 olives on skewer, for garnish
– 1 lime wedge
– Extra salt to rim the glass

1. Infused vodka by placing 2 branches of dill and 1 branch of basil in a 750ml bottle of premium vodka.
2. Close bottle and infuse heat-free for 2-3 days.
3. Combine cocktail ingredients.
4. Refrigerate overnight, 6-8 hours minimum.
5. Salt rim of a tall Collins glass and fill with ice.
6. Pour 15ml infused vodka followed by 326ml of the cocktail mix over ice.
7. Garnish.

Feature image supplied by Colorado Tourism Office.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.