American Elm Launches Paired Dinner Series with a Heaven Hill Distillery Collaboration

Heaven Hill Distillery is an institution. Founded in 1935, the distillery has been producing top-tier hooch under its own name as well as being responsible for its own flagship labels like Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. On Thursday, June 22, Heaven Hill National Whiskey Educator and Ambassador Jack Choate will touch down at American Elm for a paired dinner featuring a four-course dinner from executive chef Daniel Mangin with original cocktails from beverage director Jesse Torres.

“For the cocktails, we’re using all Heaven Hill Distillery whiskeys as well as their pomegranate liqueur, PAMA. It’s all based around chef Daniel Mangin’s food menu and is meant to pair well with his dishes. Chef is also incorporating the whiskeys in some of the food elements, and the cocktails will work to compliment the flavors,” said Torres. Dishes are set to include tempura prawns with tempura-whiskey batter and black garlic aioli, duck leg with sweet whiskey glaze, an option of steak or salmon and a Basque cheesecake with whiskey syrup.

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While Torres will be producing a fresh batch of cocktails for the event, he says he’s enjoyed using the spirits for some time. “I am very familiar with Heaven Hill’s products and have been using them in my cocktails for over 14 years now. They have been my go-to base whiskeys ever since I first tried Rittenhouse Rye many years ago. They’ve been our well whiskeys and the Bourbon in our Reserve Old Fashioned since we opened. We even tasted barrels of Elijah Craig a couple of months back and selected our own private barrel that will be bottled for us to use in our Reserve Old Fashioned in the coming months,” he continued.

Torres — himself a former chef who studied at the Culinary Institute of America — has always approached cocktail-making with a great deal of epicurean tact. “I love food and cooking and have used my time cooking to really understand flavors,” he said. “Cocktails can be more difficult to pair with food, but having a good understanding of the dish and how to manipulate flavors and acid can really allow you to craft a drink that pairs really well.”

While this is sure to be an exceptional start, the team says it is in the process of setting up a series of collaborative chef-driven dinners with some other local restaurants and a paired dinner with a tequila producer in the coming months.

American Elm is located at 4132 W 38th Ave., Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday from 5 – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Heaven Hill Paired Dinner takes place on Thursday, June 22, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125.

All photography courtesy of Lucy Beaugard.