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

As quarantine continues, spring blossoms and the coming weeks are set to see the easing of existing restrictions. Regardless, the joys of drinking at home carry on. We return for the sixth edition of our ongoing series, with a range of beverages fit for continued idleness. Go here for week oneweek two, week threeweek four and week five lists.

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. 

Travis Gale – Bartender at American Elm

Bitters End. Photo by Travis Gale.

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: Bitters End

2 oz Banks 5 Rum
3/4 oz Zucca Rabarbaro amaro
1 dash of black walnut bitters
Build into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Reason: The cocktail I chose to share is a take on a Black Manhattan. When I make cocktails at home I typically want something quick and easy that doesn’t require much prep or clean up. So with this drink, I build the cocktail right into the glass. Black Manhattans usually call for whiskey, amaro and bitters. I prefer a blended or aged rum, Zucca Rabarbaro and black walnut bitters. This is my go-to cocktail when I’m hanging out at home or about to go to bed which makes a perfect digestif.

Venmo Handle: @travis_gale 


Skylar Dorman – Beverage Director at Coohills

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Location: Coohills is located at 1400 Wewatta St., Denver. It is currently closed.

Recipe: The Aspen

2 oz Woody Creek Rye (you may change the rye up, but I feel the profile on this spirit is perfect. And support local!)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Demerara
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir to chill and garnished with cinnamon in a clove-smoked glass.

Reason: I chose this drink because it is simple to make and a play between two of my favorite classics, a Black Manhattan and a Toronto. I serve mine in a smoked snifter, however in these times just enjoy any way you would like. It is a delicious treat with cured meats, a nice steak or after dinner. Always my go-to when hosting dinner and want to impress, when we can again.

Venmo Handle: @skylar-dorman


Colin Overett – General Manager at Union Lodge

The Martinez. Photo by Nicole Pacha.

Location: Union Lodge is located at 1543 Champa St., Denver.

Recipe: The Martinez

1 1/2 oz gin (I prefer Barrel Aged Bols Genever)
1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Cocchi Di Torino adds a beautiful spice to it)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe. Express an orange peel over the top. Sip and enjoy.

Reason: This is personally one of my favorite cocktails. It is very easy to make but it can be easily made unbalanced or incorrectly. It has so many layers of flavors and textures but done with elegance. I could sit at a bar for hours or relax at home watching a good movie while sipping this drink. It also works for people who are whiskey drinkers wanting to try gin or vice versa. It is a cocktail that can be made with ingredients from pretty much any liquor store for anyone trying this beauty at home.

Venmo Handle: @Colin-Overett


Nick Souder – Bartender at Terminal Bar

Location: Terminal Bar is located in Union Station at 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver. While it is currently closed Union Station is offering a special takeout menu every day from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Recipe: Jungle Bird

2 oz El Dorado 5-Year Demerara Rum
3/4 oz Campari
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz orgeat (commercial or homemade)
splash soda water
Shaken and served over rocks with a splash of soda.

Reason: One of my favorite cocktails by a backyard fire to ring in the spring. Great in the hot summer months as well when pineapples are sweet and readily available. Excellent when paired with coconut rice, jerk chicken and good friends. This tiki classic is a favorite among the uninitiated and pro bartenders alike and not too complex to pull off at home to kill the COVID blues. The El Dorado’s deep and darkly sweet profile really shines in this cocktail providing a solid backbone for it to stand on. Happy summer!

Venmo Handle: @Nick-Souder


Parker Bunnell – Bartender at Curio

Spicy Papi. Photo by Travis Gale.

Location: Curio is located in the Denver Central Market at 2669 Larimer St., Denver. It is open Tuesday and Friday 2 – 6 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. for cocktail kit pickup.

Recipe: Spicy Papi

2 oz Anejo tequila
1 oz watermelon puree or pressed juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 basil leaf
1 slice of habanero 
Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin and shake vigorously. Double strain over ice. Enjoy.

Reason: I wanted to create a refreshing cocktail as the weather warms with ingredients I had laying around my house. I found this cocktail, in particular, to be balanced, delicious but also have a slightly spicy kick to it. You can use mezcal, tequila, aged rum, or really any spirit with the exception of whiskey.

Venmo Handle: @mpb2417