In a short time, RiNo’s Bar Helix has made an impression on Denver. In just over a year, the chic space has gained a reputation for serving exquisite drinks in a uniquely seductive environment. Led by one of the cities only female sommelier’s, Bar Helix’s drink menu is just as memorable as its aesthetic. With a champagne list that would impress any wine snob and an array of cocktails that are both craft and creative, this young space has managed to land a spot on our list of Denver’s Sexiest Cocktail Bar’s, Westword‘s The Fifty Bars We Can’t Live Without 5280‘s Best Bars of 2018. And now, it’s rolling out a cocktail compilation that’s nearly unheard of in the Mile High City.
The new menu consists of 12 Negronis – each unique in both taste and presentation. From the Suck My Negroni ($14, a frothy take on the classic shaken with egg white and a Negroni lollipop) to the Hot French Girl ($12, a play on the white Negroni served with Death’s Door Gin, Suze and Lillet Rosé) Bar Helix is showing Denver that there are many ways to enjoy this classic cocktail.
“Nowhere else in Denver are their 12 Negroni variations available at any moment of the day,” explained owner Kendra Anderson. “… and for us, it’s a wonderful way to keep our expressions and our creativity flowing. We are incredibly excited about these drinks so it’s not work for us. It doesn’t feel like a burden to have those variations because we are fucking psyched. We love Negroni cocktails. We want everyone else to love Negroni cocktails, too. What better way than to give them a complete gamut that they can run through. When you read through the 12, you’ll see essentially no matter what kind of spirit you’re generally drawn to, there’s going to be a variation that should speak to you.”
She’s not wrong. From variations with bourbon to a sparkling Negroni made with Cava and even one with grapefruit bitters that tastes like a tropical escape — this 12 Negroni menu has something for nearly every palette. It even offers guests the opportunity to try two baby versions of any drink on the list, for those who can’t decide, or a large format Negroni served in a crystal decanter for those who like to share. And while the Negroni has not seemingly been the most popular drink for local bar-goers, this classic (and historic) drink seems to be making a come back.
The most widely reported version of this drink’s origin is that it was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919. The story goes that Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender Fosco to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano (made with Campari and sparkling soda) by replacing the soda water with gin. The bartender then proceeded to add an orange garnish, rather than the lemon you’d usually get with an Americano, and the drink was born. And while the drink has not historically been a popular go-to for millennial drinkers, Anderson is aiming to change that.
“When we started talking about opening Bar Helix, I thought, ‘I know there are all of these fun Negroni variations, but most people don’t know what it is in the first place’… at least 60 percent of the guests who come through our door are not sure what a Negroni is,” Anderson explained. “So that’s to me an awesome opportunity to do education. And when we talk about education, we don’t mean it in the sense of a lecture or making you feel like you’re not smart or cool. Totally the opposite. Our whole thing is, this is so cool. We can’t wait for you to know about it also.”
You can try out all of these variations for yourself at 3440 Larimer street, Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you try all 12 variations this month, you’ll also get to take home a bottled cocktail of the variation of your choosing.
For more information on all that Bar Helix offers and to check out the menu before you go, head to the website here.
All Photography by Brittany Werges.