If you’ve traveled to Europe you’ve likely noticed that everything happens a little bit later and a little bit slower than here in the States — especially dinner. You might sit down for dinner at 8 p.m. and not begin eating until 10 p.m. That two hour window is when aperitivos — or aperitifs — are typically served. Aperitivos are alcoholic beverages — usually bitter and dry in flavor — served prior to dinner to stimulate your appetite for the meal to come. Atost is reinventing aperitivos for the American palate with fresh flavors and lower alcohol content at a new lounge in Golden.
Cindy and Kyle Pressman had the ever-frustrating problem of enjoying different alcoholic beverages — he enjoyed whiskey or vodka-based drinks while she enjoyed wine. As a couple, that can get annoying. “We wanted to learn about a blend in the middle, and that’s what an aperitivo is,” said Kyle. “In Europe they drink them a lot but they are so bitter and filled with sugar. We wanted to create it for the American palate. So, it’s lower in sugar, much less bitter and we put the flavors forward that Americans like.”
Atost is the couple’s first venture into the alcoholic beverage industry — they previously owned a juice company called HealthKic but pivoted when the pandemic hit. “We knew we wanted to get into the alcohol industry and this was the perfect opportunity,” said Kyle. They have learned a lot over the past eight months and got a “crash course” in fermentation from their partner and mentor Chad Yakobson — owner and brewmaster at Crooked Stave. “He helped so much with the operations side of things, we’re lucky he has been so generous with his knowledge,” said Cindy.
The fermentation process at Atost begins with fermenting Chardonnay with honey to cut down the acidity of the wine. Then, a Sonoma grape spirit is used to extract each varietal’s distinct flavors and colors. The two are blended together to create a beverage that is 21% ABV. Atost currently has three flavors — Roots, Bloom and Citrus — that will be available year-round. Roots tastes warm and herbaceous with notes of ginger and lemon and is a perfect drink for fall. Bloom taps into floral, fruity flavors like hibiscus, rose and strawberry and Citrus includes California citrus with a little bit of Tahitian vanilla. All three can be enjoyed on the rocks, as a spritz with the addition of seltzer, tonic or prosecco or as a cocktail with the addition of fresh juice, bitters, simple syrup or fresh herbs. Throughout the year these three flavors will be available but you’ll also find seasonal flavors like Woods — a winter flavor that is currently aging in whiskey barrels and will be available in a few months.
The aperitivos from Atost are available for pickup at the Golden location or delivery throughout Colorado and California from the online store for $35 per bottle. The quaint, cozy lounge is also open for guests to come enjoy “a toast” in person where you can enjoy the company of Cindy and Kyle and talk to them about their journey.
In Colorado — where there is an abundance of craft breweries and more wineries popping up each year — it’s refreshing to see a new concept in town. Atost seamlessly merges the flavor of a good cocktail with the poise of a glass of wine to create an unparalleled beverage that will keep you coming back for more.
Atost is located at 15810 W 6th Ave Frontage Rd, Golden. Open Friday – Sunday 4 – 8 p.m.
All photography by Marla Keown.