The first thing that strikes diners and lodgers walking into RiNo’s Death & Co. is the attention to detail. The architecture, the staff and the menu all elicit the feel of dark Art Deco decadence. And it isn’t just the design that has received this luxurious treatment. The extensive yet carefully curated selection of intricately crafted cocktails is what continues to bring in those looking for an elevated drinking experience.
Twice a year their cocktail menu changes over, debuting a brand new collection of libations contributed by the bartenders and staff. As they show off the new list, two things are clearly on display — incredibly unique ingredients and people who know how to mix them. Each cocktail is a labor of love, a truly original take using bottles you won’t find anywhere else. To uphold the highest standard of service, the staff is brought together to do a deep dive into each individual cocktail before the menu release to dissect the intricacies of what makes each drink so special. To give readers a glimpse into the depth of knowledge, taste and experience that contributes to each of the 37 different new cocktails, we’ll break one down here.
The Saddle Tramp ($15)
The cocktail starts with Yola Mezcal. This woman-owned business based in Oaxaca follows Yola’s grandfather’s recipe from 1971. Their company is revolutionary in more than one way — the first being their commitment to their employees and community. Almost entirely women-run, the distillery provides free childcare for its employees and founded a music festival in L.A. — called Yola Dia — primarily featuring female artists. Beyond the business practices, the mezcal itself is unparalleled. Made from a blend of Espadin and Madecuixe agaves, roasted for four to eight days, manually grounded and then fermented in open-air oak barrels for eight to 10 days — the process is painstaking. The agave is finished in a double copper pot still and then rested in glass for four weeks before being hand bottled on site.
To make it summer
Nixta Licor de Elote you won’t find anywhere else in town. This 70 proof offering comes from a base of cacahuazintle maize literally grown on the slopes of the Nevado de Toluca volcano. This corn liqueur tastes like fresh corn on the cob and if that doesn’t remind you of summer, little else will.
To take it up a notch
A roasted corn-infused Clairin Vaval features as well. This Haitian rum comes from a hand-cut, single variety of “Madame Meuze” sugar cane fermented in open-air vats for wild fermentation. Death & Co. roasts their own corn before infusing this unique rum.
A little something sweet
The last stop on our odyssey through this epic cocktail is the Jacoulot Crème de Pêche. Rather than another Mexican or Caribbean offering, this is a product of Burgundy. The tiny peaches that the region is famous for are macerated for 60 days in a grape distillate before being distilled and the result tastes like eating a peach off the tree.
“I wanted this to be summer, corn and peaches,” said bartender and creator Alex Jump.
These ingredients are shaken with lime and a splash of simple syrup, uniting deep rotted traditions from Mexico, Haiti, and France together into a beverage that is somehow, inexplicably, a perfect encapsulation of an American summer. Roasted corn and fresh peaches are what it tastes like, and there is beauty in the simplicity of the final product.
It is this attention to detail that makes Death & Co. such a unique spot for cocktail connoisseurs, sourcing unique ingredients and then having the adventurousness and deft hand to mix them into a balanced drink. Walking through a single cocktail on this epic menu release shows us one thing — that these folk take their drinks seriously. In any given cocktail there lies a story — tradition stretching back decades, a new up-and-comer doing something great, a cause brought to fruition. Walk into Death & Co. and diners can casually order the best drink of their lives, not knowing that each ingredient has been carefully sourced from all corners of the globe to create the experience they are about to have.
The menu also offers a series of nonalcoholic options like the Bayberry Spritz ($10), and new take on old classics like a Manhattan look-alike called the Frontier Psychiatrist ($16). There s a little something for everyone on the lengthy cocktail list, along with a long list of new things to try.
Death & Co. is located inside The Ramble Hotel at 1280 25th St, Denver, CO 80205 open Sunday to Wednesday 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Thursday to Saturday 3 p.m. to 1 p.m.
All photos courtesy of Death & Co.