I truly enjoy exploring the cocktail scene in Denver and learning from the fantastic bar programs strewn across the city. Each bar has its own personality which is revealed through its cocktails and the people behind them. If you look closely, cocktail menus change as the seasons do, continually giving your palate a refresher course as temperatures rise and fall.
The Green Russell recently rolled out its latest list, working with a variety of spirits to bring its guests spring in glass. While many people in Denver flock to patios as the weather gets warmer, I opt for the dimly lit, subterranean speakeasy, where its cocktails brighten the room and mood. Bonanno Concepts beverage director Adam Hodak, Green Russell bar manager Kevin McCloskey, and the bar team developed a list of libations spanning from strong to sweet, each drink spiked with spice, fruit, or herbs.
It’s difficult to play favorites with the diversity of the current menu, but Urban Poison ($12) made with Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Gin, lemon, lemongrass basil, and an absinthe rinse was a crisp and clean cocktail that balanced the boozy kick of the gin and absinthe with citrus and light herbs. On the other end of the spectrum, the Sun of a Gun ($13) is a deep, rich and strong mix of Knob Creek Rye, Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur, Amaro di Angostura, and Sandeman Fine Rich Madeira. The banana liqueur (which has been popping up on menus around town) cuts the rye with a little bit of fruity sweetness while the Madeira brings nutty, sweet elements.
With 11 signature cocktails (and one bartender’s choice), you won’t soon run out of options of what to sip at Green Russell. Just get make sure you get in and try the menu before the next change.
All photography by Danielle Webster