The Tatarian’s Dragon Blood cocktail is made with navy strength gin, apricot liqueur, lemon oleo, lemon juice, cinnamon tincture and dried fruits. (Provided by Oscar Ladd, The Tatarian)
Now is the winter of our discontent. Or not, if you have a hot, boozy cocktail in hand to keep you warm. (And, yes, content.)
Bars and restaurants along the Front Range are celebrating hot cocktail season by steaming up some delicious creations, and all you have to do, you lucky drinker you, is sip them. Because when it’s 12 degrees outside and the snow is falling, a margarita just isn’t gonna cut it.
Here are some spots to cozy up with a warm cup of spiked hot chocolate, loaded coffee, intoxicating toddy and mulled wine. They’re not going to drink themselves, people.
Avanti Food & Beverage has heat lamps on its patio to keep you warm, but you probably won’t even need them given all the body heat radiating off the cool kids crowded onto it. Throw in a couple hot drinks — such as the Finnish Hot Chocolate with vodka, milk chocolate, mint and whipped cream, or the Chamomile Hot Toddy with bourbon, honey, angostura and rosemary — and you’ll be downright sweltering. 3200 Pecos St., Denver, 720-269-4778; avantifandb.com
It’s possible that life doesn’t get any better than spiked hot horchata. Made with the comforts that are cinnamon, vanilla, milk, rice, almonds and Patron XO Café, Tamayo’s Spiked Horchata is pretty much Mexican hygge, if that were a thing (which it’s not). If you need a jolt of caffeine with your Mexican hygge (we’re making it a thing!), try the Cappuccino Tamayo, a frothy blend of espresso, Patron and Tuaca. 1400 Larimer St., Denver, 720-946-1433; eattamayo.com
After dealing with Interstate 70’s nightmarish traffic up and back to the slopes, you probably need a good laugh Comedy Works has an entire menu section devoted to hot, boozy drinks. The Nutty Irishman (St. Brendan’s Irish Cream, hazelnut liqueur, coffee and whipped cream) and Death by Chocolate (Godiva white chocolate liqueur and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream) will have you back in good spirits. (See what we did there?) 1226 15th St., Denver, 303-595-3637, and 5345 Landmark Place, Greenwood Village, 720-274-6800; comedyworks.com
Your go-to PSL (pumpkin spice latte for the un-basic) will look forever bland after drinking The Great Hot Pumpkin Cocktail at The Family Jones. Besides pumpkin, this lovely, warm concoction mixes up house-made rum, cherry bark vanilla bitters and amaretto. If that’s not cold weather-y enough, it’s topped with toasted pecan whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. 3245 Osage St., Denver, 303-481-8185; thefamilyjones.co
Could there be a more ubiquitous hot cocktail than the hot toddy? Check out Pony Up‘s version, which blends local citrus clove liquor from Distillery 291, lemon, rye and agave. Wash it down with one of Pony’s spins on the French Dip. Because yes, you can definitely wash down a drink with a sandwich and, yes, we said spins, plural. 1808 Blake St., Denver, 720-710-8144; ponyupdenver.com
The Tatarian is a tree-themed bar (why the heck not?) and its Dragon’s Blood cocktail is a hot drink inspired by the Dragon’s Blood Tree. In case you’re wondering, is native solely to the island archipelago of Socotra off the coast of Somalia. The Dragon’s Blood (the drink, not the tree) is made with Navy-strength gin, apricot liqueur, lemon oleo, lemon juice, cinnamon tincture and dried fruits, and it will surely give you a lift. 4024 Tennyson St., Denver, 303-416-4496; thetatarian.com
The Bitter Bar is a Boulder favorite for its extra-long weekday happy hour (5-8 p.m.!), but its fireplace and hot drinks warrant a wintertime look. The Hot Buttered Rum, made with grass-fed and organic everything because this is Boulder, and The Bitter Bar Hot Toddy will get you nice and toasty. 835 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-3050; thebitterbar.com
On your way out or back to the mountains (or on your way out and back; who are we to judge?), stop at The Fort. The setting is pretty darn warm and magical even without the array of hot bevs (an array of teas to coffee-based cocktails) on its menu, including the Bear Hunter’s Tea with hot black tea and Barenjager honey spirits. 19192 CO-8, Morrison, 303-697-4771; thefort.com
Mulled wine was the original zero-waste drink. It got its start because the ancient Greeks (or Romans, depending on who you ask — Since they’re all dead, you’re out of luck) didn’t want good wine to go to waste, so they heated it up and added some spices to extend its life. Be a good, life-extending wine steward and grab a glass of mulled wine at Golden’s Miners Saloon. 1109 Miners Alley, Golden, 303-993-3850; miners-saloon.com
Over the years, Social in Fort Collins has served more than 20 different hot cocktail recipes, and its current riff on a Hot Buttered Rum may be one of the best yet. Called the Sleepy Hollow, it’s made with local spiced rum, pumpkin puree and pumpkin spiced butter batter. It’s rumpkin-rific. 1 Old Town Square #7, Fort Collins, 970-449-5606; socialfortcollins.com
The Block Distilling Co. changes its menu quarterly, so if you want to try The Cocktail Formerly Known As — a blend of the RiNo distillery’s autumn gin, spiced pear juice, lemon juice and cardamom bitters that’s magically heated with an espresso machine steam wand — get there before the first day of winter (the solstice is Dec. 21 this year). However, we’re confident whatever they conjure up for winter will be just as warm and tasty. 2990 Larimer St., Denver, 303-484-9033; theblockdistillingco.com