Valentine’s Day is a great way to celebrate your loved ones and find your new favorite drink. 303 magazine asked some of the top bars around the Denver Metro Area to share their favorite cocktails for this year’s holiday. Knowing many people can not make it out due to the conditions of the pandemic, we hope to brighten your celebrations with these 10 DIY cocktails.
Honey Elixir Bar
Location: 2636 Walnut St #104, Denver
The Lowdown: Honey Elixir Bar specializes in elevating the human experience through potions, jun, cacao and honey. They use all-natural ingredients and honey as a simple syrup in their cocktails. This Valentine’s Day, Honey Elixir Bar will be changing its menu for those going in person, however Alicia Spurgin, the head bartender, gave 303 Magazine a fan-favorite recipe.
- 2 oz The Botanist Gin
- .75 oz Italicus
- .75 Lazzaroni amaretto
- 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- .5 oz Anise Honey Simple Syrup (homemade)
- Absinthe star (garnishment)
To make the honey simple syrup mix half cup honey and half cup water in a saucepan until honey is dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of anise extract. Stir until combined.
Run For The Roses
Location: 1801 Blake St #10, Denver
The Lowdown: Run for the Roses on Dairy Block is a secluded elegant underground bar. With a sweet treat to share with those at home this Valentine, here is its recipe for sweet scotch to keep that sweet tooth satisfied.
Recipe: Mickie Walker
- .75 oz Grenadine
- .5 oz Lemon
- 1 oz Sweet vermouth
- 2 oz Scotch (makers choice)
Location: 225 E 7th Ave, Denver
The Lowdown: Mizuna Denver’s French-inspired house has a lot to offer this Valentine’s Day with a new menu for food and drinks. Liz Kotalik, manager of public relations, shared their new valentine’s day cocktail to get those at home inspired to share the love.
Recipe: French Kiss, By Josh Paul, Mizuna’s Head Bartender
- (Makes one glass)
- 1.5 oz Spring 44 gin
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz simple syrup
Muddle the above ingredients with a handful of fresh raspberries. Shake with ice. Strain into a flute. Pour over your favorite sparkling rose. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Location: 530 E 19th Ave, Denver
The Lowdown: Retrograde has a unique location and funky cocktails. This year for Valentine’s Day, Retrograde is continuing with their same menu but to “spice things up,” bartender Paul Larkin shared a spiced cocktail recipe.
Recipe: The Braindead
- 1oz fresh lemon juice,
- 1oz honey simple,
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters,
- .5oz Spiced Pear Liqueur (like St George’s)
- 1.5oz your favorite vodka.
Add all this to a mixing tin, give it a good shake, and strain it into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel, or twist if you’d prefer.
Forest Room 5
Location: 2532 15th Street, Denver
The Lowdown: Forest Room 5 has a very unique atmosphere hidden right off the road. Many people gather around to enjoy the campfires when grabbing a drink. 303 Magazine got an inside from bartender Adrian Gonzalez on a cozy drink to cuddle up with.
Recipe: Bear Heaven
- 2 oz whiskey (makers choice)
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- .25 oz peach bitters
- Thyme (for garnishment)
Location: 1401 Pearl St, Boulder
The Lowdown: Avanti Boulder has a fun and relaxed atmosphere where one can find any cocktail they desire. Bartender Corey Thompson shared his spin on a Valentine drink with 303 Magazine. Inspired by a fun night and letting loose, the dark rum drink was created.
Recipe: Jungle Bird
- 2 oz Dark Rum
- 1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
- .5 oz Champari
- .5 oz lime juice
- .25 oz demerara simple
Although Denver has so much to offer when it comes to showing love for one another, 303 Magazine wanted to share the classiest of class with these classic cocktails. Here is a list of traditional cocktails that have a fun Valentine’s Day twist to make every day one for love.
Location: 717 17th St., Ste B, Denver
The Lowdown: French 75 in Denver is anything but a classic cocktail, offering wonderful eats and great company. The French 75 comes all the way from World War One, getting its name from the 75-millimeter light field gun used by the French. This drink is anything but war, it is a mix of champagne and gin to add a little celebration to the spice of life.
Recipe: French 75
- 3 oz champagne
- 1 oz gin
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz simple syrup
Location: 1801 Blake St. #10, Denver
The Lowdown: The Classic Cosmo born in 1975 by Neal Murray got its name from the first sipper proclaiming “how cosmopolitan” thus gifting a famous drink its name. The Cosmo is sweet with a touch of tang to keep your taste buds coming back for more.
- 2 oz vodka (makers choice)
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- .75 oz fresh lime juice
- .75 oz triple sec
- Orange peel to garnish
The Lowdown: The famous Paper Plane took flight in the early 2000s when Sam Ross fell in love with the song “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. The news of this new drink spread from New York to Chicago and quickly to Canada. Today the Paper Plane is known by many bartenders around the world.
Recipe: Paper Plane
- .75 oz Bourbon
- .75 oz Aperol
- .75 oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
- .75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Location: 1453 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: Osteria Marco Italian eatery in Denver now has Aperol Spritz on tap. Known as a classic cocktail the Aperol Spritz got its name in Italy in the 1800s when people used to add water to their wine because it was too strong. Now, this champagne drink adds a spritz of Aperol to add some orange zest.
Recipe: Aperol Spritz
- 3 oz Prosecco
- 2 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Club Soda
- Garnish with an Orange Slice
Location: 1801 Blake St. #10, Denver
The Lowdown: Mr. Erskine Gwynne was the inspiration for the classic cocktail the Boulevardier. Gwynne was a journalist for the magazine The Boulevardier and came to the famous Harry’s Bar where he order the sweet bourbon drink.
- 1.25 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- Garnish with an Orange peel