Local Bartenders Share Their Favorite Drink Recipes to Make at Home – Part III

As the populace continues to come to terms with the Stay-at-Home Order and the real value of remaining inside, having a good set of cocktails on hand has become all the more essential. This marks week three of a continuing series highlighting drinks from the region’s best bartenders, with options that inspire sophisticated sipping, extended lounging and proper live-stream viewing. See Week One and Week Two lists here.

As service industry workers struggle to get a foothold in these uncertain times, various services have popped up to assist those who are struggling. This website allows people to tip a randomized staff member when they have a drink. We will also be including Venmo handles of the involved bartenders below if anyone wants to tip them personally. 

Daryl Pryor – Bar Manager at Brass Tacks

Stay at Home Saratoga. Photo by Brittni Bell.

Location: Brass Tacks is located at 1526 Blake St., Denver. It is currently closed but gift cards are available for anyone who wants to lend support during the shutdown.

Recipe: Stay at Home Saratoga

1 oz Bonded Rye 
1 oz VSOP Cognac
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes aromatic bitters (I used spiced cherry)
Stir until chilled and diluted. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist. Stay home. 

Reason: I love this drink because it’s so easy to make — equal parts baby! It’s a whole bunch of flavors that just layer so nicely together and make the couch a whole lot more comfortable. It’s super easy to batch out and just have on deck for those Netflix marathons.

Venmo Handle: @Daryl-Pryor

David “Duey” Duart – Bar Manager at Mission Ballroom, Ogden Theatre, Gothic Theatre and Bluebird Theater

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Location: Mission Ballroom is located at 4242 Wynkoop St., Denver; Ogden Theatre is located at 935 East Colfax Ave., Denver; Gothic Theatre is located at 3263 South Broadway, Englewood; Bluebird Theater is located at 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. All venues are currently closed and will reopen once the city and state allow. 

Recipe: DuaRita aka “The Quarantinarita”

1 1/2 oz Reposado tequila 
3/4 oz Patron Citronage (Triple Sec)
Fresh juice of 1/2 orange (1/2 – 1 oz)
Fresh juice of 1 lime (1 – 1 1/4 oz)
Dash of agave nectar 
12 oz or 16 oz glass full of ice (I like a 12 oz glass)
I prefer it shaken rather than stirred but it will be tasty either way.

Reason: This drink is just a really good version of a margarita so please feel free to name it whatever you want. I dig this drink because it’s fresh, extremely delicious and really easy to drink. I prefer a decent reposado tequila but use what you have or what your pocket can afford. If you don’t have a fruit juicer or a fruit squeezer, you can use your hands to squeeze out the orange and lime. Feel free to adjust the amount of OJ or lime juice used per your taste, and the same goes for the agave nectar. For the record, you can not get this version of a margarita at any of the music venues I work at.

Venmo Handle: Duart asked that anyone hoping to tip donate to the Denver Loves Music Service Industry Workers Relief GoFundMe.


Christopher Stotts – Bar Manager at Avanti

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Location: Avanti is located at 3200 North Pecos St., Denver. It is open Wednesday – Sunday 4 – 9 p.m., with Meta Asian Kitchen, The Rotary and Lea Jane’s starting curbside pickup and delivery this weekend. 

Recipe: Blood Orange Paloma

1 1/2 oz tequila 
1/2 oz blood orange juice
1/2 oz lime
3 oz Squirt or other grapefruit soda
Salt rim of glass. Pour all ingredients over ice.

Reason: Palomas are the perfect at-home drink. They are simple, light and refreshing. I really love that the tequila remains the star of the show. Bonus, you don’t need much to put them together. The weather getting nice but we are stuck inside, drinking these are like a mini-vacation in my backyard.

Venmo Handle: Stotts asked that anyone hoping to tip donate to Avanti’s GoFundMe, all of which goes to bartenders and front-of-house staff.

Jesse Torres – Bar Manager at American Elm

Location: American Elm is located at 4132 West 38th Ave., Denver. It is currently open for takeout and delivery, Sunday – Thursday, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. The to-go menu includes take-out beverages and cocktail kits.

Recipe: Pimm’s Cup      

1 1/2 oz Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 cucumbers wheels cut 1/4 inch thick
2 oz your favorite ginger beer (we use Fever Tree)

Add all ingredients except ginger beer into a shaker and give the cucumber a good muddle. Put some ice in there and shake it up good. Finely strain your drink into a Collins-type glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a cucumber wheel speared with a blackberry and mint bouquet. You could really garnish this with any fruit you have. Get creative and create a beautiful arrangement.

Glassware: Collins

Garnish: Cucumber wheel, blackberry and mint bouquet.

Reason: With spring is in the air and the lilies rising from their sleep, the days are getting warmer and sitting on the patio near the garden is just about the best place to be right now. This is the ideal warm-weather drink and the freshness of the cucumber, lemon and sharp ginger add to the gorgeous botanical notes of the Pimm’s No.1 Cup. Plus, the low alcohol content makes it an ideal drink for any time of the day.

In Britain where this originated, they prefer using lemonade — which is very similar to what we know as Sprite — and strawberries instead of the American-preferred, ginger beer and cucumber. Why not try both? You could also try topping it with your favorite soda or even your favorite sparkling water flavor. This easy to make drink is fun to experiment with and try new combinations — go ahead, get creative and mix it up.

Venmo Handle: @jessetorres-74. All tips will be shared with the American Elm bar staff.

Kyle Fanfoni – Bartender at Room For Milly

Room For Milly. Photo by Adrienne Miller.


Location: Room for Milly is located at 1615 Platte St. Suite 145, Denver. It is currently closed.

Recipe: Spiced Cranberry and Orange Gluhwein (Mulled Wine)

1 bottle of red wine (cheap is totally fine)
1 cup orange juice (use fresh if you have it)
1 cup of cranberries (if you don’t have fresh, frozen or dried is fine, just add 1/2 cup more)
1/2 cup sugar or preferred sweetener
1 orange studded with cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks depending on size
1-star anise clove
1 allspice berry (optional)
1-2 green cardamom pods (optional)
Give it a kick! (optional)
1/2 cup of brandy
2 oz orange liqueur 

1. Prepare all ingredients above as well as gather a large saucepan or pot.

2. Take the orange that you studded and slice it into about 6 round slices.

3. Add all ingredients to the pot and gently stir to ensure mixing.

4. Heat over low heat for 2-3 hours

5. Use a small strainer to remove the spices, the fruit can stay and be used as delicious garnishes

6. Leave on the stove on the warming setting and serve until gone! 

Reason: As most of us are starting to go a bit stir-crazy, I decided to choose a drink that made me think of the comfort and safety of home. My mom would always make this when we had family game nights or just had a nice night in by the fire. As most of us find ourselves away from family during all of this I thought a bit of home would do us all good. The aroma of the spiced wine filling your home will make anyone feel relaxed and comfortable and after a few glasses, you will find nothing but warmth and tranquility in whatever you are doing.

Venmo Handle: @Kyle-Fanfoni. All tips will go directly to the staff at Room for Milly.

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