Call — a dual restaurant concept from Craig Lieberman (the founder of neighboring cracker company 34 Degrees) opened nearly a year ago in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood. With not even a year under its belt, the unassuming eatery located in a former residential house landed a spot on Bon Appétit’s coveted Hot 10 list. With detailed, yet simple food and drink programs — Call grabbed attention both locally and nationally and now, they’re looking to do it again with a new fall cocktail lineup. With warm spices, unique liquors, seasonal fruit the aim to keep the drinks “mid-day” ready, Joe Buckley and his crew built a menu that is both elevated and day-time approachable.
“I think there’s a coziness that happens with the fall cocktails,” said Buckley, the man behind all things beverage at Call. And we agree. When orange and yellow leaves begin to fall and chilly air settles into the Mile High City, there seems to be a shift in the way that locals dine and drink. We go from sipping Moscow Mules on patios to sipping Manhattans at cozy corner tables. That being said, winter-time in Denver can look like 70 degrees and sunny one day and sub-zero and snowing the next. Buckley’s aim in crafting Call’s new cocktail list was to appeal to both possibilities. With refreshingly bright drinks (like the Smoke Signals) for Colorado’s warm days and heavy heartwarming drinks (like the Hot Buttered Rum) for the cold ones — Buckley managed to create a program that truly represents the many sides of Colorado’s fall/winter months. It also takes week-time lunch breaks into account with low-alcohol to no-alcohol options for the drinks.
“The Smoke Signals is kind of our take on a high ball… we’re using Mezcal (optional) with a little bit of fresh lime juice, a little bit of Aperol our housemade turmeric ginger syrup and San Pellegrino sparkling water on top,” said Buckley. “It works nicely in Colorado because we get these days like yesterday, it’s 77 degrees and sunny. It’s something that could both cool you off and warm him up at the same time.”
Apart from the Smoke Signals ($10) the new menu also features Don’t Call Me Shirley ($10) with a fig jam reduction, Family Jones Gin and lemon juice, Doctor’s Orders ($10) with a house made spiced chai apple reduction, turmeric ginger syrup and Aperol, Hot Buttered Rum ($10) with spiced butter batter, Plantation OFTD Rum, port and fennel whipped cream, and Winter Made ($10) with pear-fennel syrup, lemon and Family Jones Vodka.
“[With] the Hot Buttered Rum, the way that we played with the classic variations of rum is something unique to us… as the addition of the fennel whip cream. Fennel is a big ingredient that we use in this restaurant,” said Buckley. “… It seems like a perfect fit with the anise seed and the spices that we’re using in the butter batter.”
In addition to harnessing the unique qualities of autumn (like warm spices, dark rum and early fall fruits) Buckley also utilized close connections in an effort to keep the drinks as authentic as possible by producing a fig reduction from fresh California figs sent by the executive chef’s mother. This, along with the fact many of the drinks can be ordered in a low-ABV version, differentiates Call’s cocktail menu from many others in Denver. Like in the case of Doctor’s Orders, where guests have the option of doing a low-ABV or a standard-strength cocktail with Four Roses Bourbon, which Buckley believes is an awesome option for those looking to both have a drink and continue with their day.
“We like to focus on the lower ABV cocktails… which allows for the food and the drink to work together really nicely where we don’t have incredibly overpowering overly boozed cocktails,” said Buckley. “It’s [also] nice because then you can have a couple of them and not have to take a nap afterward.”
From “cinnamon and baking spices” to “late summer, early fall fruits,” Buckley believes that the new cocktail menu presents drinks that can both be enjoyed around a fire or sipped on a patio under the warm Colorado sun. These factors, coupled with the low ABV-option render Call’s new cocktail menu one to add to your boozy winter bucket list.
Beckon | Call is located at 2845 Larimer St., Denver. It is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday. Beckon is expected to open before the end of 2018. Stay tuned with us here for updates.
All photography by Amanda Piela.