Summertime means warm weather, mountain biking and lots of sunshine in good ol’ Colorado Springs. For me, it also means evenings spent sipping libations at one of our many fantastic cocktail bars in the Springs.
I spent time at three of my favorite local watering holes chatting with some of my favorite bartenders about what summer cocktails they enjoy making, serving and drinking. Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street, Distillery 291 and The Principal’s Office never fail to rock my taste buds, and they absolutely delivered three summery, refreshing cocktails that make the perfect beginning or end to an evening. (Disclosure: I tend bar at the P.O. from time to time.) They were even kind enough to share the recipes, so you can make these at home if you like—or go directly to the sources and watch the magic unfold!
Cowgirl In The Sand
Sweeney, bar manager, The Principal’s Office
“I like that it’s tiki style, and yet it uses ratios from a classic cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz, as well as our housemade ginger beer,” Sweeney says. “It makes me feel summery and decadent because of the rich texture, and the super funky, fruity, Jamaican rum flavor.”
3 oz. ginger beer
2 oz. Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz. heavy cream
1 egg white
1 oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
6 dashes of grapefruit bitters
Pour ginger beer into a Collins glass. Combine remaining ingredients into a shaker, and dry shake (without ice) for one minute. Then add a scoop of ice, and shake vigorously for one to two minutes. Very carefully and slowly, pour the resulting emulsion into the Collins glass. To do it like the pros, stop pouring for 10 seconds once the drink reaches the top of the glass, and shake the remaining mixture again. Then very carefully build a head of foam by pouring slowly and steadily into the center of the drink.
Georgia Mint Julep
Philip Rawleigh, brand ambassador, Distillery 291
“This is my favorite summertime 291 Colorado Bourbon cocktail,” Rawleigh says. “What’s really cool is if you drink it from the straw, you get sweet and sour first, and then bourbon. But if you sip it from the top when you’re sitting outside on a hot summer day, the bourbon just kind of starts to infuse through, and you get this bourbon-heavy cocktail that ends sweet.”
1 cup crushed ice
6 fresh mint leaves
¼ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. raw simple syrup
2 oz. 291 Colorado Bourbon
Add five fresh mint leaves to the bottom of a rocks glass, and pour lemon juice directly on top. Then add the simple syrup. On top of this, add the crushed ice. It will look very much like an adult snow cone. Simply pour the bourbon onto the ice, and add straws and the remaining mint leaf to garnish.
Erika Mullett, tasting room manager, Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street
“Missionary’s Downfall [is] a cocktail I feel completes summer for me. Not sugary sweet, but floral from local honey and mint, this drink was one of the original tiki cocktails that started the tiki cocktail movement,” Mullett says. “It was created by Don the Beachcomber [who is widely credited as the father of American tiki restaurants] around the late 1930s from his desire to use fresh ingredients on his bar menu. At Brooklyn’s on Boulder, we were challenged to recreate this drink using all homemade products and swapping out rum with our Lee Spirits Dry Gin. This truly adds a level of botanicals that finishes this cocktail beautifully.”
1 oz. Lee Spirits Dry Gin
¾ oz. honey syrup (half honey, half water)
½ oz. apricot liqueur
½ oz. lime juice
4-6 mint leaves
¾ oz. pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice, and shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Double or fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass of your choosing, and add a mint leaf to garnish. Sip, and be refreshed.
—by Danial James
Trying out one of these Colorado Springs cocktails yourself? Post your photo to our Facebook page. Cheers!